BN-800 reactor

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The BN-800 reactor is a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor, built at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station, in Zarechny, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. Designed to generate electrical power of 880 MW in total, the plant is the final step to the commercial plutonium cycle breeder. It is planned to start producing electricity in October, 2014. By now (2014 July) the reactor is started at minimal controlled power to run diagnostics.[1]

The plant is a pool-type reactor, where the reactor, coolant pumps, intermediate heat exchangers and associated piping are all located in a common liquid sodium pool. The design of this plant was started in 1983 and was totally revised in 1987 after the Chernobyl Disaster and for somewhat lower degree in 1993 according to the new safety guidelines. After the second revision the electric output power was increased by 10% to 880 MW due to the increased efficiency of the planned power generator steam turbines.

The reactor core is, in size and mechanical properties, very similar to the BN-600 reactor core, but the fuel composition is very different. While BN-600 uses medium-enriched uranium dioxide, the new plant will burn mixed uranium-plutonium fuel, helping to reduce the weapon-grade plutonium stockpile and provide information about the functioning of the closed uranium-plutonium fuel cycle. It was specially mentioned that the closed cycle will not require plutonium separation or other chemical processing.

The unit employs a three-circuit coolant arrangement; sodium coolant circulates in both the primary and secondary circuits. Water and steam flow in the third circuit. This heat is transferred from the reactor core via several independent circulation loops. Each comprises a primary sodium pump, two intermediate heat exchangers, a secondary sodium pump with an expansion tank located upstream, and an emergency pressure discharge tank. These feed a steam generator, which in turn supplies a condensing turbine that turns the generator.[2]

Export[edit]

The Peoples Republic of China's first commercial-scale, 800 MWe, fast neutron reactor, to be situated near Sanming city in Fujian province will be based upon the BN-800. In 2009 an agreement was signed that would entail the Russian BN-800 reactor design to be sold to the PRC once it is completed, this would be the first time commercial-scale fast neutron reactors have ever been exported.[3]

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