CMR@IBR-2 conference: research and status of IBR-2

News, 25 April 2022

Today, the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics JINR has launched the 5th International Conference “Condensed Matter Research at the IBR-2” (CMR@IBR-2). Participants are discussing the IBR-2 pulsed reactor, plans for its modernisation, as well as a range of research conducted at the facility.

FLNP JINR Director Valery Shvetsov opened the conference presenting a report on the status and plans for the modernisation of the research reactor IBR-2. “Despite the temporary shutdown of the IBR-2 reactor for maintenance, the research is in full swing. This became possible thanks to other instruments of FLNP JINR. For example, X-ray scattering and X-ray diffractometer stations, as well as other instruments,” Valery Shvetsov noted welcoming participants.

In addition, the report by the FLNP JINR Director contained information about technical tasks and further plans for improving this JINR basic facility. It was noted that the improvement of the cooling system would be one of the key tasks to be accomplished. Current heat exchangers have been operating for more than 40 years and need to be replaced. It is preliminarily scheduled for September 2023 when the necessary equipment will be delivered. After that, the reactor will be relaunched to implement the user programme in October 2023. Another task of the Laboratory team is to find the origins of the observed power pulse fluctuations at the IBR-2 and eliminate their consequences. To achieve this, Laboratory specialists decided to completely replace fuel in the reactor. This will guarantee the stability of the facility for five and more years. The FLNP JINR team is already discussing the production and delivery of new fuel together with NIKIET and other Rosatom scientific organisations, as well as carrying out necessary preparatory measurements and work. According to specialists, fuel can be replaced in 2026 and will extend the life of the IBR-2 reactor until 2040. Along with solving these technical problems, work will be carried out to obtain the necessary licenses after each stage of the modernisation at the reactor. In 2023 – 2025, the handling of fuel and fuel assemblies removed from the facility will be an important stage in the reactor’s life. This work will be done together with the Mayak Plant.

During five days of the CMR@IBR-2 conference, which is dedicated to the approaching 65th anniversary of FLNP JINR, participants will discuss the experimental results, promising areas of scientific research, and the improvement of experimental facilities at the IBR-2 reactor.