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Russia's Rosatom Plans to Test Innovative Energy-Efficient Nuclear Fuel

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Russia's Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation plans to try innovative energy-efficient uranium-erbium fuel on VVER-1000 and VVER-1200 nuclear reactors in test mode in 2020, the corporation's roadmap of innovative development until 2030 published on Wednesday indicates.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Erbium is a so-called burnable neutron poison which absorbs neutrons breaking loose from nucleus during the nuclear reaction. Is is set to replace other absorbing substances which uranium fuel is currently enriched with, primarily the rare-earth metal gadolinium.

"The benchmarks for implementation of this research area [design of fuel fro water-cooled reactors] are the following projects: <…> uranium-erbium fuel for VVER-100/1200 reactors with composition of uranium-235 not exceeding five percent," the roadmap reads.

Russia's Rosatom Plans to Design High-Capacity NPP Project With Super Reactor - Sputnik International
Russia's Rosatom Plans to Design High-Capacity NPP Project With Super Reactor
Erbium-based technology is currently applied in RBMK-class reactors, which are in operation at nuclear power plants near the Russian cities of Saint Petersburg, Kursk and Smolensk.

According to the road map, the research will also focus on other aspects of fuel efficiency for VVER-type reactors, widely used in nuclear power plants in Russia.

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