Vacuum Container for the Cold Neutron Source at the NRC “Kurchatov Institute” – PNPI

In 2020–2021 the Sosny R&D Company designed and manufactured the vacuum container and auxiliary equipment under the contract with the Financial and Production Atomic Energy Company (FINPROMATOM) for the reconstruction of the laboratory building at the PIK research reactor complex (the NRC “Kurchatov Institute” – PNPI), where the Cold Neutron Source (CNS) is being created.

The CNS is to get experimental data needed to justify selected materials and media, and to try out the CNS technology in the following:

  • achieve thermal and physical properties of the CNS in compliance with the process requirements;
  • try out the procedure for creating and maintaining the purity of the gaseous media (deuterium, helium);
  • try out the synchronized operation of the deuterium sub-system and the cryogenic helium facility;
  • ensure the fire and explosion safety of the process procedures; and
  • test the equipment for the CNS vacuum assembly.

The vacuum container is a constituent part of the CNS vacuum assembly.

It is a sealed vacuum vessel which houses the CNS. The vacuum container is designed to localize consequences of potential accidents at the Cold Neutron Source, including the detonation of a stoichiometric deuterium-air mixture at atmospheric pressure (1.01x105 Pa).

Its body has six adjustable supports and is secured to the wall-mounted brackets by the tie-rods.

The handling platform has guard rails and balconies to get access to the vacuum container parts to be maintained.


 CNS Vacuum Container: 1 – body; 2 – handling platform; 3 – bracket; 4 – tie-rod; 5 – support



The vacuum container body is five-sectional. The sections are joined by flanges with sealing gaskets. The vacuum container has a special retainer to protect and align the CNS inside its body. 


Vacuum Container



Safety Class   4 as per NP-033−11 
Seismic Category  III as per NP-031−11 
Leakage Class  III as per GOST R 50.05.01−2018 
Dimensions (LxWxH)  4225x2850x9147 mm
Internal volume   1750±50 L 
Weight  5000 kg 
Residual internal pressure   10−3 Pa 
Pressure at the accident localization   2.1 MPa 
Operating temperature   from +5 °С to +45 °С 
Base material  Steel 12Х18Н10Т 
Service life   5 years




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