The Company’s main activities are developments and research in the field of nuclear power engineering, including:
- Research and development of technologies for spent nuclear fuel handling, including handling of non-conforming and damaged fuel.
- Design, development and fabrication of equipment for nuclear facilities.
- Nuclear and radiation safety analysis, strength and seismic analysis of the equipment and technologies.
- Design, development, fabrication and maintenance of automated systems for process control and monitoring, and radiation monitoring systems.
- Development and mounting of in-pool inspection stands for nuclear power plants including design of instrumentation and automation.
- Organization of nuclear material transportation including development and justification of safe transport plans.
- Development and fabrication of equipment for SNF loading and transportation.
The Sosny Research and Development Company was established on April 21, 1992 as a partnership to support post-irradiation examinations (PIE) of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) of power-grade reactors in shielded cells at the SSC RIAR material testing facility. Primarily, the work included delivery of irradiated SFAs from Russian and Ukrainian NPPs to the PIE facility. The Company was able to invariably supply objects of research to the PIE facility for more than 15 years due to the effectiveness of the proposed logistical solutions and low cost.
Initially, Sosny used many years’ experience of its employees for SFA post-irradiation examinations, since manufacturers and developers of new fuels for VVER and RBMK reactors needed data to understand the fuel behavior under normal, transient and accident conditions. Moreover, the material testing facility needed new non-standard methods for SNF research and testing.
Sosny’s clients were customers of SNF post-irradiation examinations: first, nuclear fuel manufacturers, and then, TVEL OJSC.
Handling of nearly all types of reactors (power-grade, research, propulsion), especially storage, transportation and reprocessing issues, had forged into the lead by 2003. While the nuclear industry has a smoothly running system of handling the spent fuel, non-standard situations requiring special approaches based on the knowledge of its behavior may yet arise. These include the following challenges, Sosny has been coping with:
- Elimination of consequences of the fuel destruction at the Paks NPP,
- Preparation and removal of the RA reactor SNF from Vinca Institute, Serbia to Russia,
- Assessment of a feasibility and practicality of reprocessing non-conforming RBMK SNF at Mayak PA,
- Improving safety of storage conditions for the spent fuel from the EGP-6 reactors at the Bilibino NPP,
- Preparation of the AMB-100 and AMB-200 reactor SNF for transportation and reprocessing at Mayak PA,
- Removal of the spent fuel from SSC IPPE.
- Preparation for removal of liquid SNF of IIN-3M reactor of Foton JSC (Uzbekistan).
The Company is particularly focused on the International Program on Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) aimed at consolidation and conversion of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Before the program was launched, the Company had already had reactor physicists and nuclear and radiation safety experts in its staff with long experience at research reactor facilities. The Sosny experts develop procedures and equipment for loading spent fuel assemblies into casks, train facility personnel in handling the casks, obtain necessary approvals and prepare safety assessment documents. Numerous tasks have been performed under the RRRFR program:
- Certification of foreign packages in the Russian Federation: SKODA VPVR/M (2005), CASTOR MTR (10),
- Development of an overpack for transportation of Russian TUK-19 cask by different conveyances including aircraft,
- Modernization of a vessel for SNF transportation,
- Development of transfer casks for loading SNF into transport cask,
- Development of a Type C package for the transport of radioactive material with no restrictions on activity by different transport modes including aircrafts.
In the past few years, Sosny R&D Company mastered new capabilities, such as building of a subcritical nuclear facility, fabrication of shielded cells and gloveboxes with inert atmosphere, development and fabrication of equipment for radiochemical reprocessing of SNF, development and fabrication of the technology and equipment required to prepare the SNF of the Lepse floating maintenance base for removal, as well as decommissioning of foreign nuclear fuel cycle facilities.
In 2014, the Dimitrovgrad launched its own Pilot Production Facility furnished with up-to-date machinery.
The Sosny's Quality Management System is based on the ISO 9001:2008 requirements and confirmed by International Certificate of Registration. The certificate is issued by NQA (National Quality Assurance Limited, Great Britain).
The Company sees its opportunities in solving the pending tasks of the Russian nuclear industry: development of the equipment for fabrication and reprocessing of new nuclear fuels and elimination of the nuclear legacy accumulated over the years of nuclear activities.