|BN-800 reactor. Photo from Rosatom|
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. The plant reached its full power production in August, 2016.
The plant is a pool-type reactor, in which 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 completely revised in 1987 after the Chernobyl Disaster and to a 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 highlighted 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.
The construction of BN-800 started in 1984 as Unit 4 at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant but was put on hold after the 1986 Chernobyl accident. It resumed in 2006 and BN-800 achieved minimum controlled power in 2014, but issues led to further fuel development work. On 31 July 2015, the unit achieved minimum controlled power again, at 0.13% of rated power. Commercial operations was expected to start before the end of 2016, with a power rating of 789 MWe. The reactor was connected to the electricity grid in February 2016 and achieved full power for the first time in August 2016. Commercial power production started on November 1st, 2016.
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.
- Reactor assembly at Beloyarskaya nuclear power plant (2010)
- "Fast reactor progress at Beloyarsk". Nuclear Engineering International. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Joint venture launched for Chinese fast reactor". 30 April 2010.
- Official website
- B.A. Vasilyev; S.F. Shepelev; M.R. Ashirmetov; V.M. Poplavsky (4 March 2013). "BN-1200 Reactor Power Unit Design Development" (PDF). International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles: Safe Technologies and Sustainable Scenarios. IAEA. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
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