Within the framework of the business program, ROSATOM held a panel discussion “Pragmatic management of the back-end of the fuel cycle a pathway to sustainability”. Chairman of the session Nikolay Drozdov, Director of International Business Department of ROSATOM, said: “In the modern world it is impossible to start the implementation of the nuclear program without a basic strategy of the back-end of the fuel cycle. The key issue is to choose the optimal solution from the various options proposed. For example, in Russia, we are actively developing and implementing innovative technologies for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and radioactive waste management. We adhere to the position that we should not shift the responsibility for decisions on radioactive waste management and spent nuclear fuel on our future generations, including increasing the environmental load. As part of the work, last year in Russia there was a power start-up of BN-800 reactor. Also ROSATOM started production of MOX fuel. Together, both companies will enable us to reprocess high-level waste, significantly reducing its activity, and reuse it.”
Among the participants of the discussion of existing and emerging solutions in the field of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and radioactive waste management were distinguished experts, including Guillaume Dureau, Senior Executive Vice President of Back End Business Group at Areva, Christophe Behar, Fayat Business Development Director for Energy, Mikhail Baryshnikov, TENEX Head of Back-End Department, Kevin Alldred, Centrus Energy Corp. Senior Vice President Business Strategy, Jaejoo Ha, OECD/NEA Head of Nuclear Development Division, Andrey Tovstenko, TENEX First Deputy Director for Strategy and Marketing.
Participants agreed that solutions for the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle are one of the integral elements of public acceptability of projects in the field of nuclear industry. According to Christophe Behar, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing is an optimal solution that can provide such acceptability. Another important factor is cost-effectiveness of spent nuclear fuel technology. According to the analysis presented by Jaejoo Ha, the processing of spent nuclear fuel for today is the most predictable model of handling this material.
Speakers emphasized the need for investments into the further development of nuclear technology, including implementation of the concept of closed nuclear fuel cycle and return of spent nuclear fuel for further reprocessing.
During workshop, held on the first day of the exhibition, Rosenergoatom Concern JSC presented the 4th unit of Beloyarsk NPP, sodium-cooled fast reactor BN-800, which is an evolution of the BN-600 reactor, successfully operated for more than 30 years. BN-800 technology allows using uranium plutonium MOX fuel, which is a new step in the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. Implementation of such technology will reach a whole new quality of nuclear energy. Within the workshop, there was also presentation of the 6th reactor of VVER-1200 generation unit 3+, that was launched at Novovoronezh NPP in Russia. A distinctive feature of this project is improved reactor safety system that combines active and passive safety systems. To date, this is the first and most powerful new generation reactor in the world, that meets all current safety requirements.