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The Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE RAN) was established on November 3, 1988, by the Order № 2198r of the USSR Council of Ministers with the aim of advancing basic research and independent analysis of nuclear and radiation safety.

A balanced combination of fundamental research and topical applied projects is a sort of a ‘business card’ of the Institute and a conceptual framework of its activities in the field of nuclear, radiation and environmental safety of nuclear power engineering and nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The key feature of the Institute activities is a comprehensive nature of the studies, which cover a variety of problems ranging from numerical simulation of physical processes associated with the operation of reactor installations, nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel cycle enterprises and ending with analysis of radiological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of operation of nuclear power and nuclear industry facilities. IBRAE scientific and technical achievements over 25 years of activities have gained international recognition and are widely applied in the nuclear power industry.

Basic Information about IBRAE RAN

The Institute history covers the post-Chernobyl era. Comprehension of the experience gained during elimination of the Chernobyl accident consequences made clear the need for creating in Russia an independent scientific structure enabling expert support of nuclear industry facilities and organizations to ensure their nuclear and radiation safety.
Today, IBRAE is one of the Russian largest centers for fundamental and applied research in the field of safety of nuclear power facilities that possesses a high scientific and technical potential.
More than 650 employees constitute the staff of the Institute including its Novosibirsk and Northwest branches. About 480 scientists work at IBRAE research departments, including 3 academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), 1 RAS corresponding member, 53 full doctors of sciences and 127 candidates of sciences (PhD). 
More than 100 undergraduate and graduate students of several Moscow high schools (such as Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - MIPT, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute - MEPhI, Lomonosov Moscow State University and others) are trained and pass scientific practice at IBRAE. MIPT basic department ‘Problems of Safe Development of Modern Power Technologies’ as well as the Dissertation Council for doctoral and master’s theses are acting at IBRAE.
On the basis of long-term agreements, IBRAE carries out a broad scientific cooperation with the State Corporation “ROSATOM”, EMERCOM of Russia, Rostechnadzor, “Rosenergoatom” Concern, U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). IBRAE is actively involved in joint projects with the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). The main Russian partners of IBRAE are: Scientific and Engineering Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SEC NRS) of Rostechnadzor, NRC ‘Kurchatov Institute’, Joint Institute for High Temperatures of RAS, Institute of Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy and Geochemistry of RAS (IGEM RAS), Afrikantov OKBM, OKB ‘GIDROPRESS’, PA ‘MAYAK’, Russian Federal Nuclear Center “All-Russian Research Institute Of Experimental Physics” (VNIIEF), Atomenergoproekt, SPbAEP – branch of All-Russian Research Institute for Power Technology (VNIPIET), All-Russian Research Institute for NPP Operation (VNIIAES), Dollezhal Research and Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET), Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE), Federal Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety; Ship Repair Center ‘Zvezdochka’, SevRAO, DalRAO and other leading nuclear industry organizations.

IBRAE Major Research Areas:

  • basic and applied research in ensuring nuclear power safety;
  • development of software tools for safety analysis of nuclear power & industry facilities (including tools for safety analysis of both ‘traditional’ thermal water-cooled reactors and advanced fast reactors with liquid metal coolant);
  • development of scientific basis for facility- level and regional-level radiation monitoring & emergency response systems;
  • nuclear, radiation and environmental safety of nuclear fleet and low-power facilities;
  • system analysis of the problems of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management, decommissioning of nuclear & radiation-hazardous facilities and environmental remediation of affected territories (back-end);
  • analysis of the environmental impact of nuclear power and industry facilities on the environment and population;
  • development (together with NRC ‘Kurchatov Institute’ and Bauman Moscow State Technical University) and promotion of the technology platform ‘Industry and Energy Integrated Safety and Security’.

Basic and Applied Research of Nuclear Power Safety-related Problems

IBRAE has developed effective software and hardware tools for safety analysis based on advanced computer technologies, modern methods of computational mathematics and probabilistic safety analysis, banks of experimental and operational data, as well as on the physical models detailing neutronics and thermal-hydrodynamic processes in nuclear reactors, transport processes of radioactive and chemical hazardous substances in the environment and their impact on the environment and human beings. Unique databases on the consequences of Chernobyl and other radiation accidents were generated, and a system-and-analytical approach to decision-making on overcoming the consequences of radiation accidents was developed. 
A specific ‘process chain’ has been implemented at the Institute that includes comprehensive basic research of various aspects of NPP safety, generation on their basis of computer codes and their preparation for practical application to simulate the behavior of nuclear reactor installations under normal and emergency operating conditions including severe beyond-design-basis accidents with reactor core damage.

IBRAE basic research is focused on the following main areas:

  • justification of hydrogen safety of NPPs;
  • safety justification of NPP containments;
  • designing and safety justification of NPP core melt localization devices (core catchers); 
  • research of basic problems of computational mathematics and development of highly efficient computational algorithms that exploit the capabilities of modern supercomputers;
  • development of new stochastic mathematical models of radionuclide transport in different media as applied to safety justification of radwaste disposal and radiation safety of nuclear power facilities;
  • development of methods for three-dimensional modeling of atmospheric transport of radioactive substances.

The results of the above studies formed the basis for the development of a number of modern software codes designed for numerical analysis of nuclear and radiation safety of NPPs and nuclear- and radiation-hazardous facilities.

Software Systems for Safety Analysis of Nuclear Power Facilities

Theoretical analysis of severe accidents using the modern physical models is the basic feature of the software systems (computer codes) developed at IBRAE and designed for safety justification of nuclear power facilities. They provide a detailed description of physical, chemical, mechanical, and other processes determining the course of severe accidents at NPPs. The developed models and computer codes have been successfully verified on a wide variety of experimental data obtained from a number of international projects in Russia, USA, Germany, France and Japan, and they are widely used in nuclear industry in Russia and abroad.

Computer Codes for Thermal Reactors

IBRAE RAN in cooperation with leading nuclear industry organizations (VNIIEF, SPbAEP, NRC ‘Kurchatov Institute’, OKB ‘GIDROPRESS’, Atomenergoproekt, IPPE and Electrogorsk Research & Engineering Center for NPP Safety (JSC ‘EREC’)) developed a through computer code, named SOCRAT, that enables simulation of the processes that occur during severe beyond-design-basis accidents at water-cooled reactors (VVER, BWR, PWR, and KLT-40S) starting from the initial event and ending with release of radionuclides to the environment.

In 2010, the basic version of the integral SOCRAT Code was certified by Rostechnadzor of Russia. The SOCRAT Code is widely used by leading Russian R & D organizations for: analysis of severe beyond-design-basis accidents at NPPs with thermal water-cooled reactors; justification of hydrogen safety and the efficiency of molten core catchers; analysis of the efficiency of passive safety systems at VVER and AES-2006-design NPPs in operation and under construction in Russia and abroad (India, China).

Currently, certification of the new generation SFPR fuel code is prepared at IBRAE. The code is being designed for a detailed description and prediction of thermo-mechanical and physicochemical behavior of fuel elements under normal operation, in case of violation of normal operating conditions and in the event of design- and/or beyond-design-basis accident at water-cooled reactors.

The CONT software package developed at IBRAE was certified by SEC NRS (reported to Rostechnadzor) for nuclear industry applications to perform computational safety justification of various NPP containments (VVER-1000, VVER-1200, and AES-2006). The code is widely used at Russian NPPs, when justifying the life cycle of pre-stressed containments from their construction up to analysis of the processes of their degradation.

Also, 2D (CONV2D) and 3D (CONV3D) hydrodynamic computer codes were developed at IBRAE for analysis and prediction of hydrodynamic flows in normal and emergency operation modes for various reactor installations and for direct numerical simulation of heat-and-mass transfer processes and the melt behavior at reactor vessel bottom when analyzing severe accidents at NPP. The CONV package was transferred to Rosatom design and industrial enterprises for trial operation and preparation for certification.

Computer Codes of a New Generation

A new Federal Target Program (FTP) ‘New-generation Nuclear Energy Technologies for the Period 2010-2015 and up to 2020 ‘ was launched in Russia in 2010. Within the FTP framework and with Rosatom support, IBRAE is developing a range of versatile computer codes to simulate different operation modes of existing and future fast reactors with liquid metal coolant. These codes are characterized by multi-physics approach, the possibility of detailed 3D calculations, using of modern numerical problem-solving algorithms and highly efficient parallel computing algorithms.

Development of Scientific Foundations for Establishing Facility- and Regional-level Radiation Monitoring and Emergency Response Systems

IBRAE RAN ranks among the recognized world leaders in the development, scientific- technical and expert support of the systems for radiation monitoring and response to radiation emergencies.

The main activities of the Institute in this area are as follows:

  • scientific-technical and expert support of decision-making in the course of response to radiation emergencies carried out in the framework of the Russian Integrated System for Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations;
  • basic research of the processes of radionuclide spreading in the environment, development and practical application of mathematical models and software codes using modern geoinformation systems;
  • development and support of Automated Radiation Monitoring Systems (ARMS)at a regional and branch level;
  • development of mobile systems for radiation monitoring and analysis of the radiation situation;
  • participation in the preparation and conduct of domestic and international emergency-response trainings and exercises; and
  • enhancement of the regulatory framework for radiation safety and emergency response.

Development and Support of Regional Emergency Response Systems

For 15 last years, IBRAE has been one of the key participants in the program of establishing a network of regional aimed at solving the following problems:

  • collection, processing and visualization of radiation monitoring data for territories; 
  • information, technical and expert support of authorities; 
  • analysis and forecast of emergency implications for population and the environment; and
  • information exchange between responders.

Up to date, more than 20 such systems have been established in Russian regions with active IBRAE participation.

A center for scientific and technical support is functioning at IBRAE around the clock and provides operational and expert support to Situation Crisis Center of Rosatom, National Crisis Management Center of EMERCOM, Crisis Center of “Rosenergoatom” Concern, Center for Monitoring and Forecast of the Moscow Civil Defense Department, public authorities, regional crisis centers and NPP workers in a case of emergency or off-normal situations related to radiation. These activities are performed within the framework of the Russian Integrated System for Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations and other programs.

The software & hardware complex for decision-making support developed at IBRAE includes mathematical models, software codes and hardware & information tools. It is designed for numerical analysis of radionuclide migrations in air and water, calculation of radiation dose to the population, justification of efficiency of protective measures, three-dimensional modeling and prediction of the radiation situation at industrial sites and in urban areas.

Practical Experience

The Institute accumulated knowledge and experience in solution of practical problems related to assessment and prediction of radiation accident consequences. IBRAE experts were directly involved in the following activities:

  • expert support of emergency response and subsequent rehabilitation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident; 
  • analysis of the radiation situation at Armenian NPP site after the 1988 earthquake in Spitak;
  • assessment and prediction of the radiation situation during the radiation accident at the Tokaimura plant (Japan) in 1999;
  • expert assessment of radiation risks and forecast of the development of emergency processes at Fukushima NPP in 2011; and
  • analysis of the radiation situation, evaluation of radiation doses to the public and forecast of the risks during a radiation incident in Elektrostal in 2013.

In Marsh 2011, a prompt analysis of various scenarios for the development of emergency processes at Units 1-4 of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP was conducted at IBRAE using the integral SOCRAT code, and the times of hydrogen explosion were determined with a good accuracy. The use of the NOSTRADAMUS code enabled prediction of the radiation situation development in Japan and in neighboring areas of the Russian Far East that made it possible to affirm soundly the lack of radiological implications for the territory and population of Russia caused by the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident.

Exercises and Drills

Specialists of the Institute developed the unique systems enabling prediction and full-scale simulation of radiation accidents and developed the computer training systems for evaluation of the radiation situation and elaboration of population protection measures. These systems have found wide application in the practice of response to real incidents and accidents, in exercises and drills conducted by EMERCOM of Russia, Rosatom and “Rosenergoatom” Concern as well as in a number of international exercises. The Institute is also involved in international scientific cooperation in the field of combating radiological terrorism and reducing its implications.

Activities on Environment Protection and Ensuring Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Russia

Since the early 2000s, the Institute has been involved by the ‘Rosatom’ State Corporation in the work on ensuring safety at final life-cycle stages of the nuclear fuel cycle enterprises. Such activities include development of concepts, programs, regulatory documents, and recommendations, as well as development of computational methods and tools for analysis of nuclear, radiation and environmental safety. For about last ten years, the IBRAE activities have embraced a variety of problems related to safety and security of nuclear legacy facilities, establishment and development of radwaste and SNF-management systems and decommissioning of nuclear-power facilities. The Institute carries out administrative, scientific and technical support of the federal target program for ensuring nuclear and radiation safety.

Basic and Applied Research at IBRAE

IBRAE carries out basic and applied research to assess a long-term safety of nuclear power facilities and industrial complexes and performs a system analysis of environmental risks at the locations of NPPs and nuclear industry enterprises. Also, a database for 2500 nuclear- and radiation-hazardous facilities was generated.

To simulate radionuclide migrations in groundwater, heterogeneous and porous geological media, software of a new generation is being developed, which uses the capabilities of modern supercomputers to implement the most effective (in terms of performance and reliability) numerical methods, especially, the method of adaptive computational grids. Software and hardware complexes have been generated for analysis, calculation and justification of nuclear and radiation safety of nuclear-legacy and radwaste-disposal facilities and sites; three-dimensional modeling of radionuclide transfer in all media; dose calculations; and analysis of radiation risks and environmental threats. 

The results of IBRAE basic and applied research in the field of computational safety demonstration are used not only at specific facilities (such as Techa water reservoirs, industrial uranium-graphite reactors at Siberian Chemical Combine, PA ‘Mayak’, ‘Zheleznogorsky’ site of deep disposal of liquid radwaste, Kirov-Chepetsk Chemical Combine, disposal sites for low- and intermediate-level radwaste), but also to solve the problems within the framework of scientific and technical support to the FTP ‘Nuclear and Radiation Safety in 2008 and for the Period up to 2015’ and the FTP ‘New Technology Platform for the Nuclear Power Industry’.

Development of the Legal and Regulatory Framework of Nuclear and Radiation Safety

IBRAE provides an expert support to the federal authorities on legal regulation of nuclear industry and takes an active part in the development of federal laws and regulatory documents that determine the national policy on radiation safety, regulation and management of environmental protection and public health. Jointly with the State Corporation ‘Rosatom’, IBRAE was involved in the development of federal laws: No 190-FZ "On Radioactive Waste Management, , No 170-FL, and No 347-FL, and provided justification for a number of public and nuclear industry concepts and programs.

Development of the FTP ‘Nuclear and Radiation Safety in 2008 and for the Period up to 2015’’ was one of the most important activities of the Institute. The ‘Rosatom’ State Corporation is the FTP Coordinator and the State Customer. The government customers of the Program activities are: EMERCOM of Russia, Roshydromet, Rostehnadzor, Federal Medical and Biological Agency (FMBA), RF Ministry of Industry and Trade, RF Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Education and Science, and others. Since 2008, IBRAE provides organizational, technical and scientific support of the Program.

At present, the efforts of IBRAE specialists are directed to the development of a concept of new FTP ‘Ensuring Nuclear- and Radiation Safety in 2016—2020 and for the Period up to 2025’.

IBRAE Activities on Overcoming the Consequences of Radiation Accidents

Within the framework of information and analytical support of the federal programs for social protection of the population and rehabilitation of areas affected by the radiation accidents at the Chernobyl NPP and in South Urals, a unique amount of data on real consequences of radiation accidents and the efficiency of protective measures at different stages of post-accident succession of events has been collected at IBRAE. Analysis of these data forms the basis for a realistic assessment of the consequences of emergency situations and elaboration of recommendations to optimize radiation protection of population and territories.

Activities on Nuclear, Radiation and Environmental Safety of Russian Nuclear Fleet and Low-power NPP

Investigation in this area is one of IBRAE priorities and is related to:

  • comprehensive safety analysis of nuclear fleet facilities using the information technologies and mathematical modeling of radionuclide transport in different media;
  • development of concepts, strategies and fundamentals to ensure radiation safety of the population and the environment in Northwest, Arctic and Far East regions of Russia;
  • development of Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) and their use in the management during implementation of strategic projects and programs on elimination of nuclear, radiation and environmental threats;
  • justification of nuclear, radiation and environmental safety of floating NPP and low-power NPP.

Development of the Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for Decommissioning of Retired Nuclear Fleet and Environmental Rehabilitation of its Supporting Infrastructure in Northwest Russia became one of the most significant achievements of the Institute. The SMP was developed in 2007 by a team of leading Russian experts headed by Prof. L.A.Bolshov, the IBRAE Director, under general scientific supervision of Acad. A.A. Sarkisov, adviser of the Russian Academy of Sciences, together with international consultants and financial support from the ‘Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership’ (NDEP) Support Fund. The SMP covers the period up to 2025 and includes more than 200 projects amounting to about 2.0 billion euros to be implemented for the period up to 2025.

Up to date, the following activities have been implemented under SMP: dismantling of 114 nuclear submarines (NS); building of long-term storage facilities for reactor compartments (presently they house 61 reactor compartments of NSs); and establishment of SNF & radwaste management infrastructure in Northwest Russia. Radiation-monitoring and emergency-response systems have been established and are in operation in the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Regions. The achieved experience is to be used for solving the problems of radiation and environmental safety in the Arctic and Far East regions of Russia.

The Institute is presently involved in several projects of low-power plants (floating NPP and low-power NPP). IBRAE participated in the work on hydrogen safety justification at KLT-40S reactors used at the first floating NPP ‘Acad. Lomonosov’, which construction is nearing completion. Also, software tools to simulate SVBR-100 fast reactor with lead-bismuth coolant are being developed for low-power NPPs. Extensive use of floating and small NPPs on territories with decentralized power supply will ensure energy security of such regions and will contribute to solution of social and economic problems in remote areas of Russian Far North, Far East and Siberia.

Development of the ‘Industry and Energy Integrated Safety and Security’ Technology Platform (TP IEISS)

Transition of the Russian economy to the innovative way of development is crucial for successful solution of strategic challenges facing Russia in the XXI century. The development of tools for transformation of innovative research ideas into advanced technologies, new types of products, goods and services demanded by the market as well as establishment of an effective system of industrial safety are the key prerequisites for such a transition.

In accordance with the global trend, the problems of such a scale are solved under so-called Technology Platforms (TP), which are structures for coordinating the efforts of participating organizations on the development of advanced commercial technologies, on raising funds for research work on the basis of public-private partnership, and on improvement of the regulatory framework in the field of innovation development.

At the initiative of IBRAE and other leading Russian research organizations in nuclear and industrial safety, a new technology platform ‑ the ‘Industry and Energy Integrated Safety and Security’  was established in July 2013.

The application and scaling of experience on establishing effective nuclear & radiation safety systems at nuclear facilities, in other branches of the Russian fuel-and-energy complex, and, in the longer term, in the whole Russian Industry-and-Energy Sector, is one of the main goals of the TP IEISS.

Scientific supervisors of the TP IEISS are: М.V. Kovalchuk, Corresponding Member of RAS, Director of NRC ‘Kurchatov Institute’; L.A. Bolshov, Corresponding Member of RAS, Director of IBRAE RAN; and Prof. Dr. Sc. A.A. Aleksandrov, Rector of Bauman Moscow State Technical University. The TP IEISS Expert Council is chaired by Acad. N.P. Aleshin, Director of Scientific-Educational Center ‘Welding and Control’ of MSTU. Prof. V.N. Ponomarev, State Councilor of the Russian Federation, IBRAEDeputy Director, is the Chairman of the TP IEISS Board. 

The Federal Center for Project Financing (belonging to the ‘Vnesheconombank’ Group) is the TP IEISS Consultant.

Read more about TP IEISS



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