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Status and prospect of R&D aimed at application of nuclear reactors for seawater desalination in Russia

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In the document 'Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia for the First Half of XXI Century', approved by the Government of the RF, seawater desalination is considered as a prospective area of application of the small-sized nuclear power plants (SNPP). Taking into account vast water resources of Russia evenly distributed over the territory of the country, seawater desalination is not a vital domestic demand for this country. Therefore, the R&D activities of the RF MINATOM institutions on nuclear desalination are aimed mainly at the assessment of implementation of the SNPP based nuclear desalination system in the developing countries suffering from the lack of fresh water supply. Within these activities, analysis of engineering and economical problems related to optimisation of the use of different type nuclear reactors as a source of electricity and heat for seawater desalination plants has been performed. The objective of the work is to develop scientific and technological basis for comprehensive design studies required for practical implementation of the projects. An important factor stimulating the R&D on nuclear desalination is rather active involvement of the MINATOM's institutions in the various activities in this field organised and coordinated by the IAEA. Since 1998, SRC RF-IPPE, OKBM, ENTEK, MALAYA ENERGETIKA, JSC, and VNIPI PROMTECHNOLOGIYI etc. have been participants of the IAEA Coordinated Research Program (CRP) on 'Optimization of Coupling of Nuclear Reactor and Desalination System'. This work is being carried out within the framework of special Russian Project: 'Use of Small Size Russian Nuclear Reactors as Power Source for Nuclear Desalination Complexes: Optimization of Coupling Schemes, Design and Economical Characteristics'. The small nuclear reactors KLT-40C, NIKA and RUTA are considered in the study. In 2002, IAEA initiates new CRP 'Economic Research on, and Assessment of, selected Nuclear Desalination Projects and Case Studies'. Participation of Russian organisations based first of all on possibility to evaluate technical and economic feasibility, expediency and efficiency of use of the Russian nuclear desalination complexes on specific sites in cooperation with the potential customers. As an important aspect of activity in nuclear desalination the RF MINATOM considers the Russian-Canadian Project of a floating nuclear desalination complex based on Russian floating power unit and Canadian preheating RO desalination units. Last year, the Project advanced essentially in organisational and technical matters both in Russia and Canada. Russia possesses of a broad experience in development and construction of the conventional distillation desalination plants inside the country and abroad. Last year's progress in desalination technology has been made on horizontal tube MED unites DOU GTPA type. Application of these units designed in wide range of capacity is considered and evaluated in all studies on nuclear desalination. In general, the RF MINATOM is interested in cooperation aimed at a practical implementation of projects in the field of nuclear desalination. Both nuclear reactors and desalination units are available and offered to the partners as a starting point for joint development of a cooperation project.

Keywords: small nuclear reactors, medium nuclear reactors, nuclear desalination, coupling, design characteristics, economic evaluation, international cooperation programme, seawater desalination, Russia

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