Dimitrovgrad welcomed IRC MBIR and PRC Coordination Meeting chaired by Gennady Sakharov

On his working trip, Gennady Sakharov, Director for Capital Investments, State Construction Regulations, and State Expert Reviews at ROSATOM visited RIAR JSC (Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region), where nuclear research installation MBIR and Polyfunctional Radiochemical Complex (PRC) are being constructed. The event was attended by more than 40 specialists representing ROSATOM and companies of Association of Organizations of the Construction Complex of the Nuclear Industry (ACCNI).

During the visit, the participants toured MBIR construction site, discussed in details the progress in installation and construction activities and a range of cooperation-related issues.

“This year we have really come a long and complicated way to implement this large-scale construction. I would like to emphasize again that MBIR is among strategic projects of national nuclear industry. This project will no doubt enable ROSATOM to be the world’s leader in the field of nuclear technologies” Gennady Sakharov said in his opening speech.

At present, there are more than 200 builders, including engineers, 26 units of equipment on the construction site. A new General Contractor “Orgenergostroy Insitute” JSC will increase the working personnel up to 500 people even in 2021, taking into account current and scheduled contraction by the end of 2020. More than 100 engineers will be engaged in the project implementation; the number of equipment will be increased up to 112 units. Later on, the number of builders is expected to be 1300 people.

During the Coordination Meeting, two contract signing ceremonies were held. The first contract was signed by Sergey Kiverov, Deputy Director for Construction, MBIR and PRC Project Manager, RIAR JSC and Elkuja Kokosadze, Director General, “Orgenergostroy Insitute” JSC. This Contract creates the General Contractor’s liabilities in the scope of installation and construction work at MBIR by construction years in accordance with the first-level schedule approved by Alexey Likhachev, Director General, ROSATOM. The second contract signed by ACCNI members fixes the intentions of cooperation in the format of Consortium.

The Meeting participants gave special attention to implementation of information modelling technology at MBIR (BIM model). ROSATOM is rapidly moving to digitalization by implementing BIM as a crucial instrument of the competitive advantage in the world market. In particular, this August, RIAR used pilotless aircrafts to get visual information and structured data to create a digital model of its site.

According to specialists from Industry Center for Capital Construction, the digital model will be used for MBIR Project development and implementation, including plan-fact analysis, definition of necessary cadastral works scope, and coordination of construction equipment movement around the site and also for remote work control at a construction stage. “Such approach will enable to effectively use resources and significantly reduce expenses regarding time and cost of the Project” specialists said and added that the remote construction monitoring will make it possible to draw up recommendations on enhancing construction rate monitoring, to decrease human factor errors and to optimize costs for construction monitoring and logistics.


MBIR-based International Research Center is being constructed at RIAR JSC site (ROSATOM Scientific Division, Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region). Within its framework both foreign and Russian participants can get access to the reactor capabilities and perform necessary tests when the reactor is commissioned. The MBIR start-up will strengthen Russia’s leadership in the global market of fast nuclear facilities and possess a unique research infrastructure that is important to promote Russia’s interests in the world.

Unique MBIR parameters with thermal capacity of 150MW and high neutron flux (5.3*1015 n*cm-2*s-1) provide for a wide range of research challenges to be solved in justification of new competitive and safe nuclear power installations, including fast reactors to close nuclear fuel cycle. At that, test time on a new reactor will be severalfold reduced in comparison to the existing reactors.


RIAR JSC signed an R&D contract with the flagship China’s company in the production of carbon materials

RIAR JSC, (a member of scientific division of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation) and Fangda Carbon New Material Co., Ltd. (the People’s Republic of China) signed a long-term contract for graphite irradiation followed by post-irradiation examinations of graphite samples provided that the irradiation conditions are similar to those of graphite operation in advanced high-temperature gas-cooled reactor HTR-PM600.

This contract provides that RIAR JSC will perform design engineering and manufacture irradiation rigs to conduct irradiation testing of graphite samples both in the BOR-60 reactor core and its lateral blanket at different temperatures. The irradiation test will be followed by post-irradiation examinations of graphite once target damage dose values have been achieved

It is envisaged that the China’s experts will apply the experimental data obtained by RIAR to justify the use of graphite as structural material of the core for advanced high-temperature gas-cooled reactor HTR-PM600.

All the research under the Contract is to be accomplished in 2024.

For your information only:

Reactor HTR-PM600 is high temperature gas cooled reactor - pebble-bed module. The HTR-PM600 reactor concept is the China’s evolutionary development of HTR-PM. Its major difference enables connecting six reactor modules to one turbine. The total thermal power output of the unit will be 1500 MW but its electrical power will be 655 MW.


One of the key stages of the SM reactor refurbishment has been successfully completed

RIAR JSC continues refurbishing the SM reactor. The most important part of this work – removal of the reactor core and its transportation in a special container for long-term storage to the RW&SNF Handling Department - was successfully completed last Saturday. The necessary equipment for removing and transporting the reactor core, which has been operated for more than 25 years, was developed by RIAR’s specialists from the Design and Construction Department and manufactured at RIAR as well.

“The work was done by the specialists of Research Reactors Complex, Transport Service and RW&SNF Handling Department under the supervision of Radiation Safety & Environmental Protection Department,” said Alexander Tuzov, Director of RIAR JSC. “A successful completion of complicated technological operation has once again shown that RIAR offers unique competencies.”

According to the refurbishment project schedule, a new core will be installed into the reactor vessel by the end of this year; by March 2020, the reactor is to be ready for experiments to determine the neutronic characteristics of a new core.

“SM-3 is the very first and, it would seem, the oldest RIAR’s reactor. But at the same time, it is the youngest reactor since it is constantly upgraded. We are the developers of a unique technology for replacing obsolete reactor internals. Earlier, the reactor core was already replaced three times” says Alexey Petelin, Head of RIAR’s Research Reactors Complex, summing up one of the most important key tasks of SM-3 reactor refurbishment.

For your information only:

SM is a high-flux vessel-type water-cooled research reactor with a neutron trap. The specific reactor design, neutron trap, several dozens of experimental channels and loop facilities provide the opportunity for a variety of studies, accumulation of transuranium elements and radionuclides with high specific activity.


RIAR’s specialists successfully completed work under the BEST project

A unique artificial Cr-51 neutrino source was manufactured at RIAR and delivered to the Baksan Neutrino Observatory of the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The work was done as part of the unique international scientific experiment “BEST” (Baksan Experiment on Sterile Transitions) in the field of neutrino physics to search a new elementary particle, so-called “sterile” neutrino. According to the calculations, the Cr-51 activity in the source at the end of irradiation in the reactor made up 3.5–3.6MCi: to obtain statistically significant experimental results, an activity of at least 3MCi is required.

“Under this project, RIAR carried out computational and experimental studies on the possibility of obtaining the required Cr-51 activity using the central neutron trap of the SM reactor; metallic chromium-50 was irradiated using the newly developed unique irradiation rig,” says Alexander Zvir, Project Manager, Deputy Director for Production”, “and only then a sealed neutrino source was made from the accumulated radioactive material.”

Earlier, the RIAR’s specialists visited the neutrino laboratory and discussed all the scientific, technical and organizational issues for preparing a complicated experiment. It should be noted that a unique work on creating the source involved employees from different RIAR’s departments: Research Reactors Complex, Radionuclide Sources & Preparations Department, Design & Construction Department, Chief Welder Service, and Radiation Safety Department.

Professor Vladimir Gavrin, A.M. of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that once delivered to the Baksan Neutrino Observatory on July 5, the neutrino source was placed into the irradiation channel of gallium detector of gallium-germanium neutrino telescope. The BEST experiment has started. The first results of the BEST experiment are expected to be published in 2020.

For your information only:

Neutrino is one of the elementary particles that is extremely difficult to register, since it practically does not interact with matter. Scientists believe that determining neutrinos properties will significantly advance understanding in the physics of elementary particles, fundamental laws of the Universe and sensing the Universe development after the Big Bang.

The BEST experiment is assumed to help answer the question about the existence of the fourth type of neutrino - “sterile” (in addition to electronic, tau- and muon).

The BEST experiment is being conducted at the underground laboratory of the gallium-germanium neutrino telescope at the Baksan neutrino observatory (Baksan gorge, North Caucasus), constructed back in Soviet times specifically for studying neutrinos. Among the main areas of laboratory research is the study of internal structure and evolution of the Sun, stars, Galaxy core and other objects of the Universe by recording their neutrino radiation.

The Institute of Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences coordinates the implementation of the BEST project, the international collaboration of which includes 15 scientific organizations in Russia, Germany, the USA, Canada and Japan.