In late 2007, several key decisions were made regarding Russia’s future fuel cycles. First, it was decided that MOX-fuel production would be based on pyroelectrochemical methods and vibropacking moving toward closing the fuel cycle with compact, dry technologies for recycling spent nuclear fuel and simplified technologies of fuel-pin manufacture, developed at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR). The goals for the closed fuel cycles under development are: minimization of expenses for spent fuel recycling, fuel pins refabrication and waste treatment; minimization of radioactive waste volume and complete recycle of minor-actinides for transmutation in the same system; exclusion of pure fissile materials (plutonium) from recycling technologies; and arrangement of all procedures in remote systems.
To assist with the development of new fuel cycles, new facilities and activities are planned. These include design and construction in Dimitrovgrad of a new, multi-functional fast test reactor−sodium cooled with autonomous loops−for testing of fuels, materials and technologies.
Pilot and industrial facilities for fuel production (including MOX fuel) and investigations of fuel cycle processes (test-demonstration centers for aqueous and dry processes) will be created. Generation IV demonstration reactor systems are also planned under the New Federal Task Program from 2008 (“Nuclear Energy Technologies of New Generation”).