The issues of relevance of the world nuclear market development with regard to fast reactors. Interview with Sergey Shepelev

The issues of relevance of the world nuclear market development with regard to fast reactors. Interview with Sergey Shepelev

- Sergey Fedorovich, lately there has been news regarding the development of fast reactors in different countries. For example, the US announced hearings concerning the construction of a fast reactor, and this area is developing in a range of other countries too. Does it indicate that the subject matter of fast reactors is becoming increasingly relevant?

- The actuality of development of fast reactors in the nuclear market is currently determined by their role in the future two-component nuclear power industry on the basis of the VVER technology already developed on a commercial scale and the commercialized technology of fast reactors with a closed nuclear fuel cycle of the energy system.

- Can we say that Russia is a technological leader in this area? And what could be the cause of lagging behind other powers, if any?

- Russia to date holds the leading position both in successfully operating industrial-scale fast neutron reactors (BN-600, BN-800) and designing commercial reactors that are competitive in the energy market. The fact that the countries that used to develop these technologies are now lagging behind is explained by curtailing the programs for political reasons (specifically, France, the US, Japan). Closing the largest power units of SuperPhoenix (France), FFTF (the US), MONJU (Japan) had a negative impact on the development of fast reactor technology in these countries for decades. This caused loss of qualification and rolling back to the stage when the technology development involved demonstration reactors.

- Which countries today can be singled out as leaders in the sphere of fast reactor technology?

- At present, the closest competitors that are boosting the development of fast reactor technology and closed fuel cycle are India and China.

- Can you specify the main reasons why this area is worth developing for Russia?

- The development of fast neutron reactors in Russia will resolve the fuel supply issues, the suspended issues of handling spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, as well as the issue of developing export potential and increasing energy safety.


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