Implementation of joint Kazakh-French SAIGA Research Program

On 10-13 October 2022, the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan hold a Technical Meeting between experts of the NNC RK and the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Sources of France (CEA), during which they discussed the progress and plans to fulfill parties’ mutual obligations agreed in a bilateral Agreement, the subject of which is implementation of joint Kazakh-French SAIGA Research Program. 

The Program is aimed at experimental research in support of the ASTRID Fast Neutron Reactor Project (France), in particular, at preparing and conducting an experiment at the IGR reactor to study the ASTRID reactor fuel behavior under conditions simulating the processes accompanying the development of an accident with unprotected loss of coolant flow (ULOF) through the reactor core.

The parties discussed technical issues related to results of the completed design work, the loop sodium circuit, the experimental device, as well as its physical mock-up. The issues of equipping the experimental device and the sodium loop circuit with parameter measurers and much more besides have been also considered.

During the Meeting, the CEA and NNC specialists discussed the results of thermal-hydraulic and neutronic calculations performed to select and justify both the operating modes of the experimental equipment during the ASTRID reactor fuel testing, and the IGR’s operating mode, which ensures implementation of specified power values of the energy release and temperature in fuel of the experimental device. At the same time, special attention was paid to the safety issues of preparation and conduction of experiments. The French experts highly appreciated the research results of the NNC and positively accepted the plans for future activities to prepare the reactor experiment.

It is noteworthy that after a long ban on face-to-face contacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting was the first when the CEA and NNC specialists were able to shake hands.