SMRs as an Attractive Option for Future Energy Development

One of the symbols of growing interests to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is that the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) recently started a series of webinars covering a wide range of challenges in the development of small and medium-sized or modular reactors (SMRs) – from national market perspectives, financing and licensing issues, to hybrid system concept discussion. Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University n.a. R.E. Alekseev (NNSTU) follows these webinars in order to identify the points of interest on the side of potential customers and takes these into account in its education and training programs.

Small and medium-sized or modular reactors are an option to fulfill the need for flexible power generation for a wider range of users and applications with a low carbon footprint. The technology offers solutions for remote regions with less-developed infrastructures and the possibility for synergetic hybrid energy systems that combine nuclear and alternate energy sources including renewables. The recent thrust in the development of SMR technology globally and the achievements of the Russian industry – where the first-of-a-kind floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) “Akademic Lomonosov” (with KLT-40S reactors) has been fully commissioned in Pevek, Chukotka region on May 22nd – have risen an international discussion on the perspective of the introduction of NPPs with SMR into the national energy mix.

In support of the signed cooperation agreement NNSTU and Rosatom Technical Academy (Rosatom Tech) have launched the international training program SMRs – “NPPs with SMR: Main Aspects and Life-cycle” – for faculty members and university management involved in the development of nuclear curricula in universities of countries embarking on nuclear power programs, in particular, seeking to develop nuclear power with SMR.

The training course will be organized from 09 to 20 of November 2020 on the premises of NNSTU. The faculty of the course will include the most qualified experts from NNSTU, Rosatom Tech and JSC «Afrikantov OKBM» – the chief designer of the RITM-200 and KLT-40S SMR technologies.

The course will cover a broad spectrum of topics related to NPPs with SMR: starting from advanced designs (focusing on RITM-200 and KLT-40S), SMR application, localization, to PSA and physical protection. The special module will be devoted to the development of educational programs on SMR technology.

The practical part of the course will be held using NNSTU’s unique experimental facilities:

  • Fundamental laboratory «Reactor hydrodynamics» of JSC «Afrikantov OKBM»;
  • Experimental complex for the study of mixing of non-isothermal flows for verification of CFD-codes with a capacity of 1.5 megawatts;
  • Research laboratory «Technology and thermophysics of liquid metal coolants».

The training course is a part of educational package on SMR technology developed by NNSTU under the support of ROSATOM and Rosatom Tech that includes also the International English-language Master Program (starting in 2020) and the specialized textbook.

The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation was established in 2010 by its predecessor Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and consists of 34 Participant countries, 31 Observer countries and 4 international observer organizations. IFNEC provides a forum for cooperation among participating states to explore mutually beneficial approaches to ensure the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.