Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

SM-3 Core Refurbishment Project

6/05/2024 2024 - #02 Physics and technology of nuclear reactors

Tuzov A.A. Izhutov A.L. Malkov A.P. Petelin A.L. Sazontov S.A.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2024.2.03

UDC: 621.039.55

Research reactor SM-3 is a high-flux water-cooled vessel-type research reactor with a neutron trap that operates in the intermediate neutron spectrum. SM-3 has the highest neutron flux density in the world more than 1015 cm-2s-1, and this is one of the unique Russia’s facilities to carry out applied research in nuclear power engineering and accumulate radioisotopes. The high thermal neutron flux density is achieved in a moderating trap in the core center. SM-3 is under operation since 1961 and serves for irradiation of reactor materials under the specified conditions to examine changes in their properties and accumulation of radionuclides and transplutonium elements. In July 2019, SM-3 was stopped for refurbishment, the main goals of which were: replacing obsolete core and control&safety equipment, extending the reactor lifetime, enlarging its experimental capabilities and improving its efficiency. The number of experimental cells for high-flux irradiation with a high neutron flux density doubled from 27 to 57, which significantly increases the accumulation of transuranium elements and radionuclides, such as cobalt-60, selenium-75, tungsten-188, lutetium-177, strontium-89 and others. Neutronic and thermohydraulic characteristics of the reactor have been checked and their compliance with design values has been confirmed. The reactor was brought to the designed power on October 10, 2020 one month earlier than planned by the Project. All major refurbishment activities were performed by RIAR’s specialists, including design and development, manufacturing of core components, dismantling, start-up and commissioning. Reactor refurbishment will increase the scope of ongoing R&D and radioisotopes accumulation by 40%. The reactor has become more reliable and safer, its lifetime can be extended beyond 2040. This article describes the main scientific and technical solutions, content and results of work on refurbishment the SM-3 reactor.


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SM-3 reactor core neutron trap modernization nuclear fuel fuel rods RCPS radionuclides

Link for citing the article: Tuzov A.A., Izhutov A.L., Malkov A.P., Petelin A.L., Sazontov S.A. SM-3 Core Refurbishment Project. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2024, no. 2, pp. 30-40; DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2024.2.03 (in Russian).