Hacking test shows Zgounder fusion reactor could power 40,000 homes
An experimental Russian fusion reactor, which is operated by Russia’s state-owned company, Iskander-Muskot, for the first time last year, could run on nuclear waste, according to its builder.
The company said the reactor’s efficiency on nuclear waste disposal had reached a level “considered to be the threshold” for commercialization, the Moscow Times reports.
It said that some 20 tonnes of nuclear waste per second could be fed into the reactor, reducing the amount of waste to be disposed of by around 40%.
Russian scientists are currently working on converting an old nuclear reactor into a “grid-connected” reactor that would generate electricity. In this experiment, the reactor fed a 10-tonne pellet of nuclear waste into the reactor for the first time last year, showing that it could run on nuclear waste, Russia’s energy agency has said.
The company has made no secret of its plan to develop a so-called “grid-connected” reactor, as part of its fusion energy programme. This technology is considered to be the best way to dispose of nuclear waste.
Iskander-Muskot had spent over $1 billion in the project, the company’s chief technology officer, Vitaly Dodin, told the newspaper. The project was started by the now defunct Far-Eastern Scientific and Research Institute of Experimental Physics.
The first test of the so-called “Next Generation Spherical Reactor”, which runs on nuclear waste, was carried out on Nov. 7, 2016, in Krasnoyarsk in eastern Siberia. According to Dodin, some 20 tonnes of nuclear waste per second could be fed into the reactor, reducing the amount of waste to be disposed of by around 40%.
These results “have encouraged us to consider [adding] another power reactor in 2021”, he said, adding that there was still no exact date for the plant’s commercialization.
The company also plans to produce fuel for the reactor, using waste from the Gorbunov Research Institute of Nuclear Engineering. Currently, Russia sends all its nuclear waste to Finland.
This article first appeared on Russia Beyond the Headlines
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