BFS: past, present and future
At present, the BFS complex of fast critical facilities is an outstanding (and unique) experimental facility designed for full scale simulation of different nuclear reactor types. Created in the 1960-s, the complex is still an efficient experimental facility for predicting the main physical parameters of fast neutron reactors with high precision.
These include criticality, CR worth, volume power distribution, sodium void reactivity effect and other special parameters. Special-purpose critical assemblies – benchmarks – mounted at BFS allow revising nuclear data, measurement techniques and calculation methods used for designing fast neutron reactors. The BFS complex has been effectively used in the framework of international collaboration.
During these collaborations were created some experiments: connected with influence of homogenous adding of 237Np in to fuel of fast reactor on efficiency of absorbers and sodium void reactivity effects (France); creation of CEFR core and measuring of neutron parameters (China); creation of benchmarks connected with ex-weapon grade Pu disposal in geological formations and nuclear safety of MOX fuel production (USA); creation of different variants of KALIMER reactor core (Korea), models of BN-600 type reactor (India); influence of sodium cavity on fast reactor core parameters (Japan), creation of modern material control and accounting system (USA).
A significant amount of different nuclear materials accumulated at BFS and used for simulations requires special attention to provide their security. Advanced methods, technologies and equipment are used to ensure effective functioning of the material protection, accounting and control systems. While in operation, the BFS equipment was regularly upgraded and retrofitted and this process is still underway. New tasks emerging due to the development of the closed fuel cycle strategy in Russian nuclear power call for further development and upgrading of the BFS complex and use of new nuclear materials.
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critical assembly core simulation fast neutrons reactors nuclear material accounting and control physical protection reactivity effects control rods effectiveness power distribution sodium void effect reactivity