Development Product of the MEPhI Will Improve the Safety of Future Reactors

MEPhI has developed a method for significantly increasing the safety of “reactors of the future”. This will be achieved by surrounding the reactor core with a radiogenic lead reflector. This development was carried out within the framework of the strategic project "Nuclear energy technologies of a new generation and extreme states of matter" of the Priority 2030 state program.


BREST lead-cooled fast reactor project


The scientists' development product should improve the safety of lead-cooled fast reactors, which belong to the fourth generation of nuclear installations, while the reactors that are now being built for industrial use are referred to as the "three plus" generation. Theoretically, the efficiency of lead-cooled fast neutron reactors can reach 50%, while for most nuclear installations in commercial operation in Russia, this figure is at the level of 30%. To create a new type of reactor, many scientific and technical problems still need to be solved, and among them - to exclude the possibility of a nuclear reaction getting out of control (as happened at the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant).

This is what the development of the Institute for Nuclear Physics and Engineering of the MEPhI is dedicated to, carried out within the framework of the state program Priority 2030 under the guidance of Professor Anatoly Shmelev.

As one of the authors of the development, Associate Professor of the Department of Theoretical and Experimental Physics of Nuclear Reactors of the MEPhI Evgeny Kulikov, explains, the essence of the invention lies in the manufacture of a reflector surrounding the reactor core from radiogenic lead (that is, lead with a predominant content of lead-208 isotope).

In 2021-2022, within the framework of the Priority 2030 program, MEPhI conducted a number of studies to develop models of interconnected physical processes in reactor cores and to search for new technical solutions that ensure the natural safety and efficiency of fourth-generation reactor facilities.