Russia's Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) have signed a memorandum of understanding on scientific and technical cooperation.
After signing the agreement in Dimitrovgrad on 3 June, KAERI president Jong Kyung Kim said cooperation with RIAR would contribute to the development of expertise in: nuclear fuel, non-fuel components and structural materials for advanced reactors; irradiation experiments and post-irradiation examination; operation and maintenance of fast neutron reactors, as well as in nuclear fuel cycle technologies.
KAERI currently commissions RIAR to carry out research according to several long-term contracts, the latest being signed in October. That contract concerned research on experimental fuel rods irradiated in Russia's BOR-60, which is the world's only fast research reactor in operation. Commissioned in 1969, BOR-60 is fully contracted till the end of its lifetime in December 2020.
The two organisations are now discussing contracts concerning the reactor and "post-irradiation examination on an experimental basis", RIAR said in a statement issued by its parent company Rosatom.
Their joint work is part of Korea's plans to develop a prototype Generation IV sodium-cooled fast research reactor. The 150 MWe Korean research reactor is expected to start operations in 2028.
RIAR will be the legal owner of the multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor, or MBIR by its Russian acronym, which is being built at its Dimitrovgrad site to replace BOR-60.