11 November 2022
As part of IGR research reactor conversion works, which are conducted in accordance with the contract of Battelle Energy Alliance LLC (BEA, LLC), as well as the Global Initiative to reduce the nuclear threat and non-proliferation of nuclear materials through the elimination of highly enriched uranium, the full-scale experiments to test the technology developed in NNC RK of down-blending and immobilization of irradiated uranium-graphite fuel of IGR reactor have been carried out from October 31 to November 4, 2022. The experts from BEA LLC (USA) and IAEA took part in these experiments.
According to the IAEA and RRRFR fuel immobilization eligibility criteria, the technology must ensure that Uranium-235 is not extracted at any stage of the process, as achieved through fine dispersion of matrix and fuel components, low fuel concentration in the matrix and uniform distribution of uranium throughout the matrix.
IAEA experts were shown the manufacturing processes of the matrix and the diametrical section of a cask with immobilized fresh fuel from IGR reactor, manufactured according to NNC RK technology. Samples were selected to be studied and element analysis was made that showed the uniform distribution of uranium in the entire volume of the cask. The results of the full-scale experiments and research were highly appreciated by both BEA LLC specialists and IAEA experts.
In addition, possible options were discussed for the temporary storage of spent fuel in a highly enriched core of IVG.1M research reactor.
Using the software of the expert group, which included specialists of NNC RK and BEA, LLC representatives, the evaluation of the considered storage options was carried out, the results of which will be presented in a report with recommendations for the storage of spent fuel of the highly enriched core of the IVG.1M research reactor.
The specialists summed up the interim results of the tasks of the conversion project for 2022, as well as the tasks for 2023. In general, it was marked that all the work planned for the current year was successfully completed.