Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, Russia’s BN-800 reactor, has been connected to the grid and resumed operations upon completion of scheduled maintenance. For the first time the refuelling has been carried out with uranium-plutonium fuel only. Distinct from traditional nuclear fuel with enriched uranium, mixed oxide (MOX) fuel pellets are based on the mix of nuclear fuel cycle derivatives, such as oxide of plutonium bred in commercial reactors, and oxide of depleted uranium which comes from defluorination of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the so-called secondary tailings of uranium enrichment facilities. The first batch of 18 MOX fuel assemblies was loaded into the BN-800 reactor core in January 2020, and now 160 assemblies more with fresh MOX fuel have been added. These replace the fuel assemblies with enriched uranium. Thus, the BN-800 core is now one-third filled with MOX fuel. From now on, only MOX fuel will be loaded into this reactor. The development moves the Beloyarsk plant a step closer to Rosatom’s strategic goal to close the nuclear fuel cycle, Ivan Sidorov, director of Beloyarsk NPP, said.
World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2021 read more »