Fast neutron reactor Current Affairs - 2019
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Russia has invited India to join in developing next-generation nuclear reactors and to participate in its fast-reactor research project.
The multipurpose fast research reactor project known by Russian acronym MBIR is coming up as the International Research Centre (IRC) in Dimitrovgrad located in the Ulyanovsk region.
What is purpose of this project?
- Creation of a new technological platform for nuclear energy, which will be based on the closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors
- It will be used to conduct a large number of reactor studies of Generation 4 nuclear systems, including the fast neutron reactor with closed fuel cycle, as well as small and medium power thermal neutron reactors.
What is significance of MBIR?
- The MBIR project is based on the closed fuel cycle which involves recycling the nuclear waste as new fuel.
- It essentially signifies research on a sodium-cooled Generation 4 fast reactor to design an advanced fast neutron reactor for use in nuclear power plants.
- MBIR’s design includes three independent loops that can be used to test different coolants like gas, lead, molten salt, among others.
- Therefore it makes possible to conduct material testing research in those different environments
What is a fast neutron reactor?
- It is a type in which the nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. It also known as a fast reactor.
- Such a reactor needs no neutron moderator like normal water, which serves such a purpose in thermal reactors.
What are advantages of fast neutron reactor?
- With these types of reactors it is possible to solve the major ecological problem of reprocessing and deactivation of accumulated radioactive waste, at same time provide much needed energy.
- It will lead to the solution of the five key problems safety, shortage of fuel, competitiveness, reprocessing and refabricating used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and enforcing non-proliferation of fission materials and weapons technologies.