Russia finalizes 150 MW MBIR fast neutron research reactor design

A committee of Russian scientists has signed off on the design of a MBIR fast neutron nuclear reactor, moving the project closer to full-scale construction, a research institute involved in the project said Wednesday. Russia, the United States and France signed a deal last June to jointly conduct research at the reactor in Dimitrovgrad in Russia’s Volga region, in hopes of studying new types of nuclear fuel, construction materials and coolants.

A multi-purpose international research center will be established as part of the project, which also produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes. “The research reactor is scheduled to be launched in 2020,” according to the East European Main Design and Research Institute of Integrated Power Engineering Technology (VNIPIET).

Picture from 2010 IAEA presentation on the MBIR reactor

Unlike today’s reactors, which slow down neutrons, the new reactor will allow them to run fast, producing much less waste and potentially breeding new fuel in the process. The MBIR is planned to have a capacity of about 150 megawatts, making it the most powerful research reactor in the world.

The project is expected to cost 16.4 billion rubles ($454 million).

There was a 15 page presentation at the IAEA in 2010 on this reactor design.

Proposed timetable in 2010

2014 MBIR construction project (design, working documentation)
2017 Licensing
2018 Construction and commissioning of startup complex
2020 Startup of whole complex
2068 Operation up to 2068
2075 Decommissioning