Nuclear power plant with BN reactor

Most nuclear power plants – both in Russia and abroad – operate in

bottom reactors in which the thermal energy of a nuclear fission reaction

transferred to water. Other countries also have nuclear power units,

where the coolant is heavy water (D 2 O) or carbon dioxide. But

it is in our country that a technology has been implemented that can become

the foundation for the nuclear energy of the future. This is a reactor

pax on fast neutrons. Do not use water in them, as

water is a moderator. The option that was chosen by the domestic

scientists – to run into the circuit as a coolant melted

ny sodium (!).

Sodium, an alkali metal, very active element – it is energetic

interacts with water (even with its vapors in the air), ignites

with low heat. However, it was decided to use

call it in the reactor. It was undoubtedly a risky move, but the risk

justified by the following considerations:

• firstly, in nuclear reactors using thermal neutrons it uses

There is only 235 U. Its content in natural uranium is only 0.7%. Basic

the same isotope in the natural mixture is 238 U (more than 99%). But his

cannot be used in thermal reactors (which are the majority in the world)

as fuel, because it is not capable of fission into thermal

neutrons. And in a fast neutron reactor 238 U can effectively

use for the production of another fissile isotope – 239 Pu;

• secondly (and this is the main advantage of fast reactors

thrones), they can get more nuclear fuel than was loaded. As mentioned in the chapter “Scientific Foundations of Nuclear Power

goetics “, when interacting with neutrons from 238 U, iso-

top plutonium – 239 Pu. This plutonium can be used not only for

making a nuclear bomb, but also as fuel for a reactor

on fast neutrons. It turns out that we burn 100 kg of fissile

isotope and we get 120-140 kg of fresh nuclear fuel – i.e.

more than used up. Because of this feature, reactors are

strong neutrons are called breeders (from the English breeder), which means


Breeders allow you to get away from the need to extract uranium from earth

subsoil (the reserves of this element are still limited), to purify and enrich

his. With such reactors we get an almost inexhaustible

source of nuclear fuel.

BR-5 – the first sodium-cooled fast reactor – was

launched in 1959. In 1968, BOR-60 was launched, and in 1973, BN-

350. In 1980, he earned (and has been successfully operating up to today

day) power unit with the BN-600 reactor (electric power

600 MW) – the world’s first large nuclear installation with a reactor

a breeder (see Fig.4.24). Other states – USA, Great Britain

Tania, France, Germany – tried to learn from our experience, but none

of foreign fast reactor projects has not been crowned with success. By-

this BN-600 still (2009) remains the only large-scale

a large-scale installation with a fast neutron reactor.

Figure 4.24 – Diagram of a power unit with a BN-600 reactor

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