MBIR fast neutron research reactor International Advisory Board to be formed in 2022

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The International Advisory Board to determine the research program for the world’s most powerful multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR), under construction in Russia, is planned to be established in 2022, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

The announcement about formation of the International Advisory Board was made to reporters by Rosatom subsidiary MBIR Reactor International Research Centre CEO of the consortium leader, Konstantin Vergazov. 

The MBIR reactor with a thermal capacity of 150 MW is under construction on the site of Rosatom’s Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) in Dimitrovgrad in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia. The reactor commissioning is scheduled for the second half of this decade. 

According to Rosatom, the MBIR’s unique technical characteristics will provide the nuclear industry with a technologically advanced research infrastructure for the next 50 years and will allow solving a wide range of research problems, paving the way for the creation of new competitive and safe nuclear power plants, including fast neutron reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle closure, “while ensuring an enormous enhancement of the opportunities for experimental research.” 

“We have now an important issue on the project agenda — the program of international research at the MBIR reactor”, Vergazov told reporters on the sidelines of the Congress of Young Scientists in Sochi.  

“This work has been completed. This year, we approved the national program for advanced experimental research at MBIR for 2028–2040 as the basis for discussing an international program which will engage our international partners”, he said. 

“For the next year, we are planning to create the International Advisory Board, and by the end of 2022, to get down to discussing the international research program”, he added.  

According to Vergazov, the Board will include leading Russian and international experts. The Board and its technical committees drawn from various fields would be vested with all the powers required to manage the research side of the MBIR project. 

It is planned to create an international research centre powered by MBIR as the platform for foreign stakeholders to carry out their experiments. The access of Russian and foreign partners to the new facility will be provided via a legal platform that is unique for the Russian market — a consortium named “MBIR Reactor International Research Centre”, Vergazov said. 

He noted that the Russian program has been developed in cooperation with researchers from Rosatom, the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna. 

Vergazov also told reporters that the construction of the MBIR is running ahead of schedule. “The reactor construction is running ahead of schedule as determined by the government. Despite all the restrictions due to the pandemic, all the main tasks set for this year for the entities engaged in the construction have been completed in advance. One of the key results was installing a floor slab in the base of the reactor well”, he said.  

“Rosatom provided us with both new tools to implement the project and the required support. A professional team of builders is engaged”, he added. 

According to Vergazov, there are new consortium models which enable cooperation with different companies to perform construction works and to manufacture the required equipment ahead of schedule.