Founded in 1956 as a branch of the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, PNPI became an independent entity in 1971. 1 The Institute, which is a part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is a state research center, and is one of the four organizations comprising the pilot cooperation project at the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute, established in 2009. 2
PNPI conducts research on neutron physics, high energy physics, theoretical physics, and molecular and radiation biophysics. Its primary activities in the area of nuclear physics include proton and small-angle diffraction scattering. It also conducts applied research in engineering, medicine, and ecology. 3
The institute is home to a critical assembly and two research reactors, all of which are HEU-powered. The VVR-M reactor, commissioned in 1959, is one of the oldest in Russia. In turn, the PIK high-flux research reactor is Russia’s newest research reactor. 4 The startup of the PIK has been repeatedly delayed. 5 For an overview of Russia’s HEU policy and the full list of Russia’s facilities using HEU, see the Russia Civilian HEU profile.
- Radiation (Ionizing)
- Radiation that has sufficient energy to remove electrons from substances that it passes through, forming ions. May include alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, x-rays, neutrons, high-speed electrons, high-speed protons, and other particles capable of producing ions.
- Critical Assembly
- A critical assembly is an assembly of sufficient fissionable material and moderator to sustain a fission chain reaction at a very low power level. This permits study of the behavior of the components of the assembly for various fissionable materials in different geometrical arrangements.
- Research reactor
- Research reactor: Small fission reactors designed to produce neutrons for a variety of purposes, including scientific research, training, and medical isotope production. Unlike commercial power reactors, they are not designed to generate power.
- Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
- Highly enriched uranium (HEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of more than 20% of the isotope U-235. Achieved via the process of enrichment. See entry for enriched uranium.
- “‘История института’ History of the Institute, Петербургский институт ядерной физики” Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics, www.pnpi.spb.ru.
- “Петербургский институт ядерной физики им. Б.П. Константинова” B.P. Konstantinov St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Национальный исследовательский центр “Курчатовский институт” National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute,” www.nrcki.ru.
- “‘Об институте’ [About the Institute], Петербургский институт ядерной физики” [Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics], www.pnpi.spb.ru.
- J. E. Matos, "Technical Challenges for Conversion of Civilian Research Reactors in Russia," Presentation at the National Academy of Sciences, 29 November 2010, Washington, D.C.
- Pavel Podvig, "More Delays for PIK Reactor," International Panel on Fissile Materials Blog, 9 August 2011, www.fissilematerials.org.