Conversion of the IVG.1M research reactor operated by the IAE NNC RK began in 2010. By the end of 2013, theoretical and computational work have been conducted, which confirmed the feasibility of the IVG.1M reactor conversion without deteriorating characteristics. The conversion and minimization of highly enriched uranium is carried out with the support of the National Nuclear Safety Administration of the US Department of Energy (NNSA DOE US).
In 2014, two experimental channels with low-enriched uranium fuel (LEU) manufactured by FSUE SIA LUCH, RF (chief IVG.1M fuel designer) were supplied for reactor tests. Until 2016, revision, approval of technical requirements, changes in the technology of manufacturing products were carried out. Reactor tests were started in 2017 and completed in October 2019 after reaching the target operating time of 1080 MWh, with a total of 49 reactor start-ups. In order to speed up the implementation of the life-cycle testing program at the “Baikal-1” Research Reactor Complex of the RSE NNC RK, a project was implemented to build a cooling system for the reactor coolant, which enabled reducing the time required to complete the task from three to two years.
The commissioning of the IVG.1M reactor with LEU fuel is scheduled for 2022-2023 (power start-up).