Russian is expecting to start construction of two BN-800 reactors next month, August 2011. The site of the two new reactors has not been disclosed, but it will most likely be a coastal site.
The two BN-800 reactors are part of a joint Russian-Chinese collaboraion agreement. Tthe project is expected to lead to bilateral cooperation of fuel cycles for fast reactors, which promise to vastly extend the fuel value of uranium as well as reduce radioactive wastes.
Unlike most of the reactors used today for nuclear power generation, fast neutron reactors make maximum use of uranium resources by generating a certain amount more fuel than they consume. They do this by using fast neutrons to ‘burn up’ uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which can be surrounded by a uranium ‘blanket’ in which slightly more plutonium is created than is used. The MOX fuel uses the plutonium recovered when used fuel, including that from conventional light water reactors, is reprocessed.