General Atomics, MINATOM reach final GT-MHR agreement

Final agreements have been signed by General Atomics of San Diego, Calif., USA, and Russia`s Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM), authorizing a joint program to design and develop a gas turbine-modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) for use in Russia.

The two will work together to design a plutonium-consuming GT-MHR power reactor with a goal of replacing the existing weapon-grade plutonium production reactors at Tomsk, Krasnoyark and other regions of the Russian Federation. Each will contribute an initial (US)$1 million.

Chosen for its safety features and high efficiency, the GT-MHR is expected to become an important energy source for the 21st century.

MINATOM has named the Experimental Machine Building Design Bureau as the lead organization on the Russian side. Other Russian participants include the Kurchatov Institute, the Scientific Industrial Organization and the A.A. Bochvar All-Russia Scientific Institute of Inorganic Materials. The venture is expected to employ more than 200 Russian scientists and engineers, who will work to develop plutonium fuel fabrication technology, convert weapons production to design of the GT-MHR and continue efforts to obtain US government support for development and licensing.