Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the V4G4 Centre of Excellence on 26 June signed a memorandum for participation in the International Research Centre (IRC) based around Russia’s Multi-Purpose Research Reactor (MBIR). MBIR is under construction at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad.
The International Research Centre will coordinate the distribution of reactor resources among users and provide a platform for collaborative research undertaken by several participants. It aims to become a World Centre of Excellence on Fast Breeders.
The V4G4 Centre of Excellence was established in 2013 by four nuclear industry research institutes and engineering companies from the Visegrad Four countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). V4G4, registered in Slovakia, comprises the Czech Republic’s ÚJV Rež, Hungary's Academy of Sciences Centre for Energy Research (MTA EK), Poland’s National Centre for Nuclear Research and Slovak engineering company VUJE. The agreement was signed during the International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles (FR-17) in Yekaterinburg jointly sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Russian government and Rosatom.
MBIR has been under construction at NIIAR since September 2015, and it is scheduled for completion in 2020. The 150MWt reactor will use sodium as a coolant and vibro-packed mixed-oxide (vmox) fuel. VMOX is a Russian variant of mox fuel in which blended uranium-plutonium oxide powders and fresh uranium-oxide powder are loaded directly into the cladding tube of the fuel assembly instead of first being manufactured into pellets. MBIR will be used for materials testing for Generation IV fast neutron reactors.
As well as the agreement with V4G4, the IRC has already signed an agreement with the Czech Republic, South Korea, South Africa and the USA and is consulting with organisations in Kazakhstan, France, China and Japan. Earlier in June, Vneshekonombank (VEB) and Rosatom signed a cooperation agreement aimed at providing support for the IRC and MBIR.