Of Breeders and Burners

Since “rogue states” are not my area of day to day focus, you’ll have to forgive my seemingly out of touch postings. I’ve been doing long overdue homework on Russia’s BN-800 fast neutron reactor today and thought I’d pass along a link to the very useful “IAEA Fast Reactor Database”:http://www.iaea.org/inisnkm/nkm/aws/frdb/index.html. Even though the FRDB appears to not have been updated for some time, it’s still probably the neatest clearinghouse of information for technical newbies (like me).

The BN-800 (“IAEA FRDB backgrounder”:http://www.iaea.org/inisnkm/nkm/aws/frdb/fulltext/13_fastReactorDesigns.pdf#BN-800) will be used in dispositioning of a substantial portion of the 34 metric tons of Russia’s excess military plutonium, as has been articulated in this U.S.-Russian “November 2007 MoU”:http://www.energy.gov/print/5742.htm. Russia plans to operate the BN-800 (or Beloyarsk-4), expected to be “launched in 2012”:http://www.rosatom.ru/en/news/6819_02.11.2007, as a burner and not a breeder of plutonium.

This Argonne Lab “overview and map of Soviet/Russian fast reactors”:http://www.insc.anl.gov/cgi-bin/sql_interface?view=rx_model&qvar=id&qval=12 is a bit dated, but useful as well. Finally, here is a “paper with pretty cool visuals”:http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnst/44/3/44_504/_article that explains some of the basics of MOX fuel manufactured by the vibropacking method, which is an option considered for the BN-800.

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