Gateway for:

Member Countries

Economics of Plutonium Burn


Study on the Feasibility and Economics of the Use of Ex-Weapons Plutonium and Civil Plutonium as Fuel for both Fast and Thermal Reactors.

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-FUC/Fuel Cycle/Fission Reactors

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
FEI (IPPE), Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk

Supporting institutes

  • Experimental Designing Bureau of Machine Building (OKBM), Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod\nKhlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg\nState Special Project Institute, Russia, Moscow\nOKB Gidropress, Russia, Moscow reg., Podolsk\nAll-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Non-Organic Materials named after A. Bochvar, Russia, Moscow\nVNIPIET (Sosnovy Bor Branch), Russia, Leningrad reg., Sosnovy Bor


  • European Commission / DG XVII, Belgium, Brussels\nBritish Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington\nCOGEMA, France, Velizy\nBelgonucléaire, Belgium, Mol\nSiemens AG, Germany, Erlangen

Project summary

The Project's goal is analysis of the feasibility and economic aspects of the use of civil plutonium separated and ex-weapon plutonium as fuel for Russian fast and thermal reactors.

The emphasis is to be put on the first stage of the plutonium recycling in Russia with large amount of separated civil plutonium being accumulated at the PO "MAYAK" and released ex-weapons plutonium and with few reactors using plutonium. In this stage it is supposed to delay the spent MOX fuel reprocessing until the most part of the accumulated civil and ex-weapons plutonium to be released from warheads dismantlement and the civil plutonium would be denatured by means of a first recycling campaign.

The Project's feature is a system approach in economic analysis which considers the utilization of plutonium in Russia, comparing three different options of plutonium use as a reactor fuel:

1. Use of civil and ex-weapon plutonium in fast reactors on an integrated site (including fast reactor power plants and fuel cycle facilities);

2. Use of civil and ex-weapon plutonium in light water reactors in operation, under construction and planned, partially loaded (one third of core) with MOX fuel, as well as in fast reactors;

3. Use of ex-weapon plutonium and separated civil plutonium in light water reactors of WER type in operation modified to handle full MOX cores.

These three options are derived from concepts proposed respectively by Russian experts, European experts as well as by scientists of the US Academy of Sciences.

Technical approach:

The comparison of all options is supposed to be performed on the basis of an uniform methodology using input data obtained in a coherent manner. Also the work should be done taking into account conditions existing now in nuclear power development and the economic context of Russia, as well as available experience in MOX fuel handling and utilization abroad, inter alia Belgium, France, Germany, UK.

Expected results: .

The Project execution will provide many employment opportunities during two years for specialists of different skills, who have recently been disengaged from the armament field in seven leading research centers of Minatom.

The overriding objective of the Project is to provide a global view of three possible options for the recycling of ex-military and separated civil plutonium, taking into account the experience already gained in the nuclear field and the new economic conditions prevailing in Russia. The economic assessment of these options will be made within the framework of a system analysis. In addition, the environmental impact and the persion resistance will be evaluated.

Finally, this study will provide an indispensable reference for decision making concerning the nuclear disarmament issue. Its result will be a tool for the orientation of eventual R&D projects. In addition, this study could identify areas of possible cooperation with countries having industrial experience in the field.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view