From weapons-grade plutonium, Russia now gains energy. This works with a special reactor, which generates as it consumed by the way even more fuel. With 790 megawatts, it is the world’s most powerful. An even greater is already planned.Russia is the only country that is still on the fast breeder reactor. This is a reactor, the electricity generated and provides at the same time still more fuel than it consumes. Just produced the world’s largest reactor of its kind in the Russian city of Bjelojarsk first power. The BN-800 has a capacity of 790 MW. Right next to him is his smaller brother, the BN-600 with a capacity of 560 MW.
Plutonium in German nuclear power plants
Already more than a year ago, the Russian engineers filled a fuel: plutonium from nuclear weapons that had been decommissioned. Fuel assemblies with uranium 238 were posted on some pitches in the reactor core. This isotope can not split, so is not use to generate energy. But it has another useful feature: it captures some of the neutrons, which is released during the fission of plutonium cores.
This uranium into plutonium, so a fuel that can be used in other fast breeder reactors, but also in light water reactors. German nuclear power plants are provided with so-called MOX fuel at least temporarily. MOX stands for mixed oxide and thinks a blend of uranium 235, the fissile isotope of uranium, and plutonium.
Energy for centuries from Russia. New world energy supplier has special 790 megawatts reactors.
Uranium which is extracted in open-pit mining includes 99.7% of the non-fissile isotope uranium 238. Only the small rest is available in light water reactors, which dominate the world nuclear power scene. Fast breeder reactors could renew uranium on centuries of range of fuel.
As in the German fast breeder reactor in Kalkar, which was closed before the operation for political reasons, the BN-800 with sodium is cooled. This metal liquefies at a temperature of approximately 100 ° C. It removed the heat generated by fission, outwards. It passes through a heat exchanger in which water heated the metal, so that it becomes steam. This drives, to such as in a coal power plant, a steam turbine. The revolving generator generates electricity.
The next power plant has 1200 megawatt
Fast breeder reactor have technically an advantage: the so-called decay heat, which occurs when the reactor is shut down, not keep, such as in light water reactors by continuous cooling in chess, to avoid melting of the core. Sodium is done alone. The metal, however, has a downside. As it flows through a leak to the outside it will ignite.
Outweigh the benefits for Russia. Therefore, Rosenergoatom, which runs civilian nuclear power plants in Russia, already plans to build the next breeder. BN-1200 50% to can generate more power than the reactor into operation now.