Russian nuclear physicists have developed a software package that will help to model the nuclear fuel treatment. The set of codes enables mastering the technologies necessary for the development of the nuclear power industry in the future. The task was completed within the framework of the Russian Proryv project, aimed at developing technologies for closing the nuclear fuel cycle based on fast neutron reactors. According to experts, the practical use of the project results will create the prerequisites for strengthening Russia’s leadership in the global market for nuclear technologies.
The Proryv project was launched in 2011 to create an atomic power unit with a sodium-cooled fast neutron reactor of new generation BN-1200 and the energy complex with a lead-cooled fast-neutron reactor BREST-OD-300.
Closing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle means achieving a self-sufficiency of energy systems. In our case, abovementioned reactors provide fuel reproduction due to plutonium breeding. Therefore, the operational mode of a particular reactor should be chosen in such a way that allows to reach the self-sustained regime and maintain it during the entire system lifecycle. And as the problem of nuclear fuel treatment arises along with the necessity for the proper instrument that performs modeling of processes involved.
Accordingly, to provide the national nuclear industry with such a tool, specialists from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow), in collaboration with colleagues from the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute, developed the REPRORYV software package (code) that simulates the processes of handling nuclear fuel outside of reactors.
The developers explained to RIA News that software code REPRORYV (Recycle for PRORYV) simulates the process of loading and reloading nuclear fuel in the active zones of fast reactors and the following reprocessing. The purpose of this code creation was the analysis of the possibility to maintain the system in a self-sustained mode throughout its entire lifecycle.
Ivan Saldikov, the developer of the REPRORYV code, said that his motivations for taking such an ambitious task were linked to a long-term prospect to solve the upcoming problem of energy shortage around the world. So, obviously, our work is important not only for the Rosatom and our country but for the whole of humanity. “We are at the very beginning of this, but the stronger we are at the start, the better, that’s why we plan to do some very big projects around here,” he added.
With the help of the new code, it is possible to assess the conditions of fuel reprocessing and the effect of plutonium presence in nuclear fuel. Understanding it is extremely important in terms of reliability and safety of nuclear systems.
According to Georgy Tikhomirov, deputy director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics and Technologies, NRNU MEPhI, the REPRORYV code is suitable for simulating fuel treatment processes not only in existing systems with fast neutron reactors but also in any other prospective facilities of this type.
Applying the brand-new software package enables calculating the neutron-physical characteristics of any nuclear fuel composition. In addition, REPRORYV allows you to solve the problems of fissionable materials self-sufficiency for fast-neutron reactors operating in the so-called dual-component Nuclear Energy System, where they work together with thermal reactors.
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