On September 24, 2015 after long-term preparatory work HEU liquid SNF of IIN-3M research reactor was successfully removed. IIN-3M solution reactor operated on the site of Foton JSC radiation and technological complex (Tashkent).
Liquid SNF had never been transported for reprocessing before.
Removal of liquid SNF from Uzbekistan was initiated by US DOE within the frame of Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return Program.
Within the frame of preparation for shipment Sosny Company specialists designed the technology and equipment to discharge liquid SNF from the reactor into temporary storage canisters and then into transport canisters, and also equipment for loading canisters with liquid SNF into SKODA VPVR/M cask by means of a transfer cask. Besides, the technology and special equipment to accept the canisters with liquid SNF at Mayak PA was developed. Safety of the equipment to handle liquid SNF and its compliance with the existing rules and regulations were confirmed by the related calculations. After performing expertise by specialists of Scientific and Engineering Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety the License of Rostechnadzor for acceptance, interim storage of the package and reprocessing of liquid SNF at Mayak PA radiochemical plant was issued.
A new Gov-to-Gov Agreement between Uzbekistan and Russia was signed and ratified to implement the first import of liquid SNF into Russia. This Agreement defines legal and regulatory framework of IIN-3M reactor liquid SNF import. The Agreement says that "irradiated nuclear fuel is imported in accordance with the procedure and conditions of import of spent fuel assemblies of nuclear reactors into the Russian Federation from foreign countries for interim storage and reprocessing, and retaining of generated waste in the Russian Federation, stipulated by the Russian laws".
In September 2015 the canisters with liquid SNF was loaded into SKODA VPVR/M on the site of IIN-3M reactor. Liquid SNF of about 27 liters in TUK-145/C (type C package containing of SKODA VPVR/M cask and energy absorbing container) was delivered to Russia by An-124-100 aircraft for reprocessing at Mayak PA radiochemical plant. All operations, related to certification and arrangement of shipment, were performed under control of Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Organization of Licensing and Approval Activities of Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.
IIN-3M is a research reactor of solution type. Uranyl sulphate solution of 90% enrichment by U-235 was loaded into its core. The peculiarity of the reactors of this type is nuclear reaction self-shutdown due to increase in temperature of the solution and radiolytic gas release. The reactor can operate in impulse and static regimes.
The fuel was loaded and the reactor was brought to first criticality in December 1975. Before 2013 the reactor operated in standard regime and about 3000 reactor start-ups were done. Reactor has been shutdown since June 1, 2013.
Earlier in 2004 the non-irradiated HEU-fuel of WWR-SM reactor was removed from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In 2006 the first, so called "pilot shipment" of the irradiated fuel from the WWR-SM reactor was accomplished under the RRRFR program. Then in 2012 two more air shipments of the WWR-SM RR SNF from the Uzbekistan were performed using the TUK-19 casks.
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