23 December 2020
Research nuclear reactors are the forge of advanced nuclear energy ideas. The main operating fast research reactor BOR-60 will soon exhaust its resource. It will be replaced by the most advanced nuclear research facility in the world — the multipurpose fast-neutron research reactor (MBIR). 

The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom is creating a unique research nuclear facility MBIR as part of the comprehensive program "Development of equipment, technologies, and research in the field of atomic energy use in the Russian Federation until 2024." The reactor is being built in the city of Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk Region, on the basis of JSC “SSC RIAR”.

MBIR will provide the nuclear industry with a modern and technologically advanced research infrastructure for the next 50 years. Its unique technical characteristics will allow solving a wide range of research problems, which in the future will become the basis for the creation of new competitive and safe nuclear power plants. In this case, research on the new reactor can be carried out several times faster than on its predecessors.

CLUSTER OF ATOMIC SCIENCE

The commissioning of the MBIR will turn Dimitrovgrad into an international cluster of nuclear science. On its basis, an international platform for advanced research in the field of nuclear technologies will be created with the participation of both Russian and foreign experts.

“The creation of MBIR is the most important project for the long-term development of the experimental potential of the domestic nuclear industry, which will allow Russia to lead in the development of innovative reactor technologies. And a partnership with leading companies in the world will open up new opportunities in nuclear energy,” says Alexey Likhachev, CEO of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES

For the first time in our country, such a large-scale construction project in the nuclear industry is being implemented taking into account the best international practices in the field of managing relations among the participants in the construction process. In order to effectively manage the construction of MBIR and ensure the advanced pace of its construction, the ASKAO construction consortium was created, which united a pool of highly professional contractors for all main types of work. "Orgenergostroy" JSC is appointed to control the builders' association.

“This is an innovative mega-project, and it is also being implemented with the use of innovative construction methods: digital design and modeling technologies, the creation of a BIM model, the use of remote construction monitoring, as well as the use of an industry-wide system of integrated cost management and construction of facilities (Total Cost Management Nuclear Construction — TCM NC). The digital model is used for plan-fact analysis, determining the required amount of land work and coordinating the movement of construction equipment around the site, ” comments Gennady Sakharov, Director for Capital Investments, State Construction Supervision, and State Expertise of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

Today, active work is underway at the facility. Within five months since the resumption of MBIR construction, access roads have been organized, the outer walls and ceilings of some facilities have been concreted, a temporary reinforcement shop has been mounted, and backfilling of the pit of the main reactor building has been completed. At the moment, 528 builders are involved in the construction of the facility, including engineering and technical personnel and more than 40 units of special equipment. In 2021, the staff will be increased to 1,500.

The work is carried out using the latest technologies that make the whole process not only technically perfect but also environmentally friendly. The state examination conducted by Rosprirodnadzor (The Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management Service) confirmed the safety of construction for the environment.

In addition, the facility has implemented the methods of the Rosatom Production System (RPS) — a culture of lean production and a system of continuous improvement of processes to ensure a competitive advantage at the global level.

RPS is based on five principles that encourage employees to be attentive to customer requirements. According to them, it is necessary: ​​to solve problems at the point of their occurrence, to build quality into the process, not to produce defects, to identify and eliminate any losses (excessive stock, interoperability, downtime, unnecessary movements) and be an example for colleagues. Thanks to the RPS and verified work schedules, production is controlled on a daily basis, within the framework of construction monitoring, indicators of each working day are provided.

According to Gennady Sakharov, the pace taken since the summer of 2020 gives the participants in the construction of the MBIR an optimistic attitude and confidence in the successful and timely passage of all key points of the project.

ENGINE FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

For the Ulyanovsk region, the construction of the MBIR International Research Centre complex is the most important investment project — Rosatom is one of the largest taxpayers and employers in the region.

“Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree on budget investments in the construction of a nuclear research facility in Dimitrovgrad. 64.9 billion rubles will be allocated for these purposes. This is a new round of development both for RIAR and for the entire Dimitrovgrad and the Ulyanovsk region as a whole. Today the company demonstrates steady growth rates of average wages — about 26%, in absolute terms, it is 77 thousand rubles. In addition, the construction of MBIR ensures the consolidation of the region's status of breakthrough technologies, new jobs for citizens, and the development of educational programs for the nuclear sector, ” commented Sergei Morozov, Governor of the Ulyanovsk Region.

It is assumed that after the launch of a research nuclear reactor, dozens of leading scientists from all over the world will simultaneously work on it. Therefore, already now, at the stage of laying the foundation of a new reactor, options for creating the infrastructure of the MBIR International Research Centre are being worked out.

“We expect young scientists from different parts of the country to come here to work. Therefore, we will continue to work even more actively to create a comfortable infrastructure for the city. In general, more than 1.6 billion rubles will be allocated from the regional budget to improve the quality of life of Dimitrovgrad residents and the socio-economic development of the city of nuclear scientists in 2021. This includes program financing for the development of the education system, sports, culture, as well as the design, construction, reconstruction, repair, and maintenance of highways. More than 100 million rubles are planned to be allocated for the improvement of common areas and courtyard areas, ” the head of the region emphasized.

HIGH SAFETY STANDARDS

Rosatom strictly observes all safety measures during the construction of the facility, as well as monitors the state of the environment and the site of the facility location, and carries out comprehensive engineering studies in accordance with the requirements of the regulatory documents of the Russian Federation and the IAEA recommendations.

“Today, nuclear facilities are the most environmentally friendly among industrial facilities. They do not deplete natural resources, do not emit dangerous gases that create a greenhouse effect, and their design features to guard the safe use of peaceful nuclear energy, ” emphasizes Gennady Sakharov.

As part of the construction of the MBIR, Rosatom strives to ensure clear and well-coordinated interaction of all interested companies and to control in detail the timing and cost of the construction.

IRC MBIR will allow Russia not only to remain a leading power in the field of nuclear energy but also to unite the efforts of the best scientific minds of the planet on our soil.

Atomic Energy

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