On 25-26 September, an international workshop on research reactor (RR) fuel was held in Novosibirsk. The event took place on the platform of JSC Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP, part of TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom), bringing together members of organizations from numerous countries, including European (Germany, Czech Republic, Poland), the IAEA, JSC TVEL, as well as Russian leading industrial scientific institutes. The workshop program included a technical visit to JSC NCCP, where foreign and Russian participants were introduced to the modernized nuclear fuel fabrication for research reactors.
JSC NCCP is the major manufacturer of fuel for Russian-designed research reactors operated in Russia and abroad. The enterprise has also successfully mastered a range of new fuel modifications for research reactors of Western design. Today, the plant produces more than 60 types of fuel assemblies.
The key issues of the workshop agenda were the prospective RR developments and NCCP’s experience in fuel assemblies utilization at foreign-designed RR units. According to the event’s participants, RR developments are the cornerstone for nuclear science progress – research nuclear facilities are being applied in a wide variety of industries: from material engineering to nuclear medicine. It was also stated that RR innovations require evolution of new specific tools, further expansion of NPU designs in terms of energy capacity and, subsequently, engineering of new nuclear fuel models.
President of JSC TVEL Natalia Nikipelova addressed the workshop participants with a welcome speech. She pointed out that the research reactor segment of the fuel market is of equal importance for TVEL than that for power reactors. “We are implementing a large-scale cooperation program together with our partners in this field, adjusting our fuel offer to specific demands of our customers”, told the head of the company.
Alexander Ugryumov, Vice President for R&D at TVEL JSC, outlined the current developments of a new fuel assembly based on uranium-molybdenum alloys for existing Russian reactors as well as for possible new RR units projects carried out by the Fuel Company in cooperation with a number of industry enterprises. “In transferring research reactors from high-enriched to low-enriched uranium, such dispersion fuel will be the most promising model”, he noted.