U.S., Russia Extend Nuclear Power Research Ties

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U.S., Russia Extend Nuclear Power Research Ties

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Russia and the United States have announced an agreement to further their cooperative nuclear power research efforts, including projects at a new fast reactor under development in Russia.

Multi-Purpose Fast Research Reactor (MBIR). Source: Rosatom/IAEAThe heads of the U.S. Department of Energy and Russia's Rosatom signed an agreement while attending the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference. According to a DOE announcement Monday, it builds on another civilian nuclear power agreement from 2011 and a 1992 non-proliferation pact that expired in June. The countries will each pay for their own share of projects under the agreement. Potentially, they could touch on topics that include international safeguards and even "defense from asteroids," according to the DOE. The agreement also helps create the legal framework for U.S. participation in research using Russia's BOR-60 fast-spectrum reactor. It also envisions U.S. participation in the Multi-Purpose Fast Research Reactor (MBIR) international research center that will replace the BOR-60.

According to a 2012 paper from the Russian journal "Atomnaya Energiya," the MBIR is a liquid-metal cooled research reactor scheduled to be opened in Dimitrovgrad in 2019. It will be used for nuclear fuel, component and materials testing, as well as radioisotope production and fuel cycle research. 

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  • So not only are we dependent on the Russians to fly astronauts to the ISS, but now we have to go to Russia for fast spectrum reactor research. Why can't we build on the experience gained with EBR II and do research here in the US?

  • That is what you get when you cut government too much.