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Wed, Oct 27 2021
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Rosatom Turns Out "Trial" SMR Fuel Assembly
Russia's state-owned nuclear power corporation Rosatom announced this week that the Elemash Machine-building plant, a fabrication facility of ROSATOM’s TVEL Fuel Company in the Moscow region, had successfully manufactured an experimental nuclear fuel assembly for the yet to be built RITM-200N reactor.
That assembly, which Rosatom called a "trial" prototype, will be installed at the world's first land-based small modular reactor nuclear power plant (SMR NPP) in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Rosatom said.
Along with its power generation, the construction of the nuclear power plant will be a breakthrough that sets the pace for additional infrastructure projects in the North Yakutsk Arctic zone, Rosatom said.
Its first task, however, will be the production of stable, cost-effective electricity. The plant's installed electrical capacity will amount to at least 55 MW, while the service life of irreplaceable equipment will last for about 60 years.
The project in Yakutia is based on ROSATOM’s RITM-200 marine propulsion reactor technology. This was developed with consideration for long-term vessels operations, specifically to power the Russian nuclear ice-breakers fleet. On October 21, 2020, the flagship new generation icebreaker Arktika with such reactors joined the nuclear fleet, now it is in service on the Northern Sea Route. Four more RITM-200 power units will be installed on the similar icebreakers under construction.
While Rusatom Overseas company is responsible for the project of the small-scale NPP in Yakutia, TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM will provide funding and coordination of works for the development of nuclear fuel for the land-based version of the reactor. The SMR plant is scheduled to be launched in Yakutia in 2028. In 2025, Elemash will start fabrication of the first fuel assemblies, the whole initial loading batch of fuel should be manufactured in 2026. Before the start of the batch production, the trial fuel assembly, manufactured at Elemash, and dummies of such model will undergo a range of the necessary pre-irradiation tests and studies.
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