Fast reactors: how Russia ended up ahead of the rest


The implementation of a unique project in the field of energy has started in Russia. The construction of a pilot demonstration power unit called BREST-300-OD with a fast neutron reactor using a lead coolant has begun in the Tomsk Region. In fact, our "gas station country" has begun to create Technology closed nuclear cycle. How did this become possible, and what does this mean for the domestic and global energy sector?


With all due respect to the now fashionable "green" energy, it is not able to completely replace the traditional one. The latter is also not a panacea, since the reserves of fossil fuels for it (coal, gas, oil) are depleted. Nuclear power with the usual thermal neutron reactors has good prospects, but their operation also requires the rare and expensive uranium U-235. However, there is an option with the so-called "closed fuel cycle", where the stake is placed on fast reactors that can process natural U-238 and thorium. What kind of technology is this, and why is it the future?

During the operation of a conventional nuclear reactor, a heavy nucleus of uranium, plutonium or thorium releases several "extra" neutrons during fission, which leads to the effect of induced radioactivity. In Russian VVER reactors, this leads to the accumulation of tritium, a heavy hydrogen isotope, in the water carrier. After that, it has to be isolated through complex and expensive manipulations. The new promising domestic BREST fast breeder reactor solves many problems at the same time.

At first, not water is used as a carrier, but liquid lead circulating at a temperature of 1751 ° C. The big advantage of molten metal is that it practically does not absorb neutrons and does not pick up induced radioactivity. As you know, lead is a very radiation resistant element. At the same time, it is chemically passive in contact with air or water, therefore, possible explosions during abnormal depressurization of the reactor circuit are excluded. This is extremely important for the safety of modern nuclear power. Even if the reactor is damaged and the working medium comes out, it will simply slowly flow out, cool and solidify, clogging the damage in the external circuit by itself. There will be no radiation horrors like the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Secondly, the new reactor will be able to operate on steam with temperatures up to 600 ° C. Compared to conventional VVERs, which have a critical point of 374 ° C, this will add an additional efficiency that can reach an incredible 40-45%. In the future, the efficiency may increase even more if a closed-cycle gas turbine is connected to the reactor instead of a steam turbine.

Thirdly, fast turbine reactors, due to the peculiarities of their design, reproduce nuclear fuel themselves. Inside BREST, uranium-238 will absorb free neutrons and turn into an isotope of another chemical element - plutonium-239. And this, by the way, is the stuffing for nuclear weapons. Under optimal conditions, fission of one uranium-235 nucleus will make it possible to obtain 1,25 nuclei of the new weapon-grade plutonium-239 from uranium-238. This means that with each operating cycle of a fast neutron reactor, up to 20-25% of new fissile material is formed inside it. Sounds fantastic.

Note that the Russian Federation is really ahead of the rest of the planet in the field of such advanced energy technologies. Neither the USA, nor France, nor Japan, having begun experiments with liquid sodium as a carrier in fast neutron reactors, were unable to achieve their stable operation. In the USSR, back in 1968, BOR-60, a fast neutron reactor with a capacity of 60 Megawatts, was launched, and it is successfully operating to this day. Its service life has been extended until 2025. The next generation BN-600 reactor was launched in the Sverdlovsk region in 1980 and is still operational. Its power is 600 megawatts, for comparison, the experimental Chinese CEFR (China Experimental Fast Reactor), launched in 2010, this figure is 45 megawatts. The freshest already Russian fast neutron reactor BN-800 was put into operation in 2015 at the same Beloyarsk NPP. In addition to industrial applications, the sodium-cooled nuclear plant has served as a testing platform for advanced technologies.

And on their basis, near Tomsk, the construction of an experimental demonstration power unit BREST-300-OD with a lead carrier began. In addition to the reactor itself, a fuel cell assembly plant and a spent fuel reprocessing plant will be built within one complex. In the future, a practically closed nuclear fuel cycle is obtained. Not bad for a "gas station country".
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  1. Binder Offline Binder
    Binder (Miron) 9 June 2021 15: 10
    -19%
    "How did Russia turn out to be ahead of the rest of the planet" - what, again ??? Well, yes, how could I forget - "Armata" is the best tank, the Su-57 surpasses all other fifth-generation fighters, zircons-Poseidons-vanguards have no analogues in the world and "Kuzya" is long-suffering, apparently the coolest aircraft carrier in the world the ocean. No, I am not at all trying to doubt in any way the talents of Russian scientists and engineers, but all the same, you should know the measure!
    1. Ulysses Offline Ulysses
      Ulysses (Alexey) 9 June 2021 15: 24
      +10
      Well, yes, how could I forget - "Armata" is the best tank

      Israel could not sell "the best tank Merkava" to anyone.
      Except for one country, whose tankers are now spitting from this blatant armored hull shit.

      The leaky kumpol turned out to be a cheap advertisement too.

      And the Israeli special forces, as it turned out, are extinguished at times by ordinary gopniks from the gateway.
      Those only manage to throw the machine gun into the bushes.
      Apparently in the hope that the unarmed will not be beaten hard ...
      1. Binder Offline Binder
        Binder (Miron) 9 June 2021 16: 12
        -19%
        "Merkava" is really a good tank, created for a specific theater of operations and solving certain problems, "Kupol" is really the best system in its class, and Israeli commandos are much cooler than Russian ones, all your alpha pennants are modestly smoking on the sidelines. Silently envy! bully
    2. sH, arK Offline sH, arK
      sH, arK 9 June 2021 21: 28
      +9
      Well, "Kuze" is how many years? Not young - once, and he went through difficult times ... Not sawed - it's already good! Although an aircraft carrier for Russia is one perhaps and is needed ... In reality, he is fighting small - rodents, Ukrainians ... Russia is a continental country, it is not on an island, not across the oceans - it almost gets everywhere on dry land! It is more important for us to block the alien fleet - and thanks to the anti-ship missiles, the most modern ones do it very well! ;))
      So we have wonderful anti-ship missiles! For us, and not for those to whom they will fly;)) And our tanks are therefore very good. Yes, there are many of them, so there is no urgent need to chase to build an expensive Armata. There are a dozen - and they are undergoing regular operation - and you and the rest before the T-90S, not to mention the later modifications, to work and work! With aviation, the story is almost the same - yes, there is a Su-57, but we all understand that there is no need to drive forward now, the engine of the second stage, there are still questions with the radar - the squirrel is not bad, but it seems that ROFAR gives hope ... Do not envy, we have nothing to share with you, the deserts are of little interest to us, although there is no problem to bury you and you know that very well - but no one even asks the question like that! Well, the hohlozhids are a different question and it is difficult to treat them as normal Jews ...
    3. Valera75 Offline Valera75
      Valera75 (Valery Bogatov) 10 June 2021 15: 39
      +1
      I'm from Tomsk and to Seversk to go to visit my brother there is a pass. Seversk -ZATO and many acquaintances from work live there and the construction has begun and is in full swing. So everything is fine with us with the atom and with armada, zircons, su- 57, and with the Crimean bridge, about which many not only in Ukraine squealed, but also around the world that we could not even build such a complex bridge, it is already fully functioning, but in Israel how are you dealing with such projects? I've heard how he skips blanks (I'm not talking about serious missiles if they flew) like a sieve.
      1. Binder Offline Binder
        Binder (Miron) 10 June 2021 15: 55
        -7
        Quote: Valera75
        So everything is fine with us

        Everything is calm in Baghdad! (C)

        Quote: Valera75
        I heard about a leaky iron dome how it skips blanks

        Yeah, it destroys 90% of rockets and mortar shells. There is nothing of the kind in the Russian Federation. tongue

        Quote: Valera75
        I am silent about serious missiles if they flew) like a sieve.

        There are other systems in Israel for other types of missiles. And in Russia there are only "Pantsir" which cannot defend themselves, and the S-400, which the curvature of the earth interferes with. lol
  2. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 9 June 2021 15: 41
    +11
    Quote: Bindyuzhnik
    "How did Russia turn out to be ahead of the rest of the planet" - what, again ??? Well, yes, how could I forget - "Armata" is the best tank, the Su-57 surpasses all other fifth-generation fighters, zircons-Poseidons-vanguards have no analogues in the world and "Kuzya" is long-suffering, apparently the coolest aircraft carrier in the world the ocean. No, I am not at all trying to doubt in any way the talents of Russian scientists and engineers, but all the same, you should know the measure!

    As a matter of fact, can you say something, Euro-Ukrainian-American-Israeli? Or, perhaps, you yourself need to know the measure of mockery and antics?
    1. Binder Offline Binder
      Binder (Miron) 9 June 2021 16: 17
      -20%
      Mr. Marzhetsky, did I forget something when we switched to you, or is your proletarian origin manifested in this way? But in essence, I can only say that in Russia today they cannot even make a decent electric kettle on their own, but here you are talking about the championship ...
      1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
        Marzhecki (Sergei) 9 June 2021 16: 33
        +13
        My origin is all right, unlike, apparently, from you.
        I switched to you because of the loss of respect for you due to systematic rudeness in relation to my country.
        And in essence the question: there is simply nothing to say to you, and therefore I will not treat you with respect.
        1. Binder Offline Binder
          Binder (Miron) 9 June 2021 16: 35
          -19%
          Your respect to me is like last year's snow. I wish you good health, lawyer from vocational school! hi
      2. kartalovkolya Offline kartalovkolya
        kartalovkolya 10 June 2021 06: 45
        +4
        The most respectable Shvonder about people like you Kuzma Prutkov said: "... close the fountain ..."! Popular wisdom about the likes of you says unambiguously: "Fools do not sow and do not reap, they grow by themselves!"
        1. Binder Offline Binder
          Binder (Miron) 10 June 2021 11: 01
          -5
          Not at all venerable Agafya Tikhonovna, advise your hubby about the closure of the fountain and thoughts about the growth of fools in an intimate setting, he needs your opinion much more than I do.
  3. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 9 June 2021 16: 42
    +9
    Quote: Bindyuzhnik
    Your respect to me is like last year's snow. I wish you good health, lawyer from vocational school! hi

    I have two state honors diplomas, by the way. I wish you to get what you deserve
  4. yuriy55 Offline yuriy55
    yuriy55 (Yuri Vasilievich) 9 June 2021 17: 48
    +3
    The news is interesting and useful. I'm glad for our scientists and engineers.
  5. AICO Offline AICO
    AICO (Vyacheslav) 9 June 2021 19: 42
    0
    May God grant that our calves defeat the wolf !!!
  6. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 9 June 2021 20: 39
    +3
    power unit BREST-300-OD with lead carrier.

    These are advanced technologies. Russia, as a great power, should own them, and preferably with a ten-year reserve. And here is just the case when you don't need to know when to stop!
  7. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 10 June 2021 08: 11
    +5
    Quote: sH, arK
    Well, the hohlozhids are a different question and it is difficult to treat them as normal Jews ...

    You are dealing with just such smile Because of these, the general attitude towards Israel and its normal inhabitants is changing in a negative direction. I noticed it myself.
    In general, it is in the interests of Israel itself to get rid of such Bindyuzhniks by depriving them of citizenship, since they discredit the country that gave them a passport due to a misunderstanding.
    1. Binder Offline Binder
      Binder (Miron) 10 June 2021 11: 07
      -8
      Citizen Marzhetskiy, you can't even imagine how indifferent the people of Israel are about your attitude towards them. And believe me, the state of Israel understands its interests somewhat differently. You, having written a frankly stupid text, replace the discussion with boorish attacks, however, what else can you expect from you?
      1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
        Marzhecki (Sergei) 14 June 2021 08: 40
        +2
        I must say that I made the decision to avoid participating in discussions in the comments as much as possible. But for you, a Ukrainian Jew, I will make the last exception. So, point by point.

        Citizen Marzhetskiy, you can't even imagine how indifferent the people of Israel are about your attitude towards them.

        Yes? That's what your Israelis howl when I write about the crimes of Israel. Now I will stop holding myself back and write as honestly and harshly as possible. Collectively, my articles are read by millions of people around the world. My word weighs more than yours or those of your other fellow tribesmen. So now you will get what you deserve.

        And believe me, the state of Israel understands its interests somewhat differently.

        These are your difficulties.

        You, having written a frankly stupid text, replace the discussion with boorish attacks, however, what else can you expect from you?

        I wrote an interesting article about the achievements of Russia in the field of nuclear energy. You, a man without shame and conscience, began indiscriminately to find fault with my country, but could not give a single argument about its "stupidity". And you still can't. Because they simply do not exist. There was no discussion of the topic of the article on your part, since you have nothing to say, and it was you who replaced it with boorish attacks on my country.
        After that, in my eyes, you lost all right to respect, do you understand?
        P.S. We'll probably all. Let moderators and administrators, and other readers, who are not too lazy to mess with you about communicating with you, deal with you and your like.
  8. Vladest Offline Vladest
    Vladest (Vladimir) 11 June 2021 00: 38
    -6
    Great idea with lead. An accident happened. the lead will solidify and plug the reactor.
    But the point is that they "began" to build. What will be the circulation then? And green energy is only at the beginning of the journey.
    Surely the first bulbs were more expensive than candles or kerosene.
    There is a place for any source of energy.
    A country with a population of 146 million must still have something innovative. But it looks like a person with one developed muscle.
    Russia as it was and remains a "gas station country".
  9. AdmiralHood Offline AdmiralHood
    AdmiralHood (Vladimir) 13 June 2021 15: 17
    0
    up to 20-25% of new fissile material is formed inside it

    In fact, 120-125%. Those. more new fuel is generated than the old one burns out.