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I.I. Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE)

  • Location
    Obninsk, Kaluga Oblast
  • Type
    Nuclear-Power Reactor
  • Facility Status
    Operational

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IPPE was established in May 1946 to develop nuclear power technology. The world’s first nuclear power plant, AM-1, was commissioned at IPPE on 27 June 1954. The Institute also developed fast breeder reactors, research reactors, space reactors, and naval lead-bismuth liquid metal reactors. 1

Today, IPPE continues to research development of nuclear power and new reactor technologies, including fast reactors, modular reactors with a liquid metal coolant, and space reactors for unmanned systems. It is also the lead institute implementing Russia’s Federal Target Program on nuclear technologies of the next generation, and provides research support to the BN-800 project. Among other items, IPPE produces isotopes for medical and commercial uses. 2

The Institute also has five critical assemblies and one operational research reactor, which are powered by highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium. 3 For an overview of Russia’s HEU policy and the full list of Russia’s facilities using HEU, see the Russia Civilian HEU profile.

The Institute has a history of cooperation with foreign partners, including with France on fast neutron reactors; with the United States, France, Germany, and Japan on the disposition of weapons-origin plutonium in the BN-600 reactor; and with China and South Korea on the development of the CEFR and the KALIMER, respectively. The institute has also received assistance from the United States and Europe on materials protection, control, and accounting. 4

Glossary

Nuclear energy
Nuclear energy: The energy liberated by a nuclear reaction (fission or fusion), or by radioactive decay.
Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant: A facility that generates electricity using a nuclear reactor as its heat source to provide steam to a turbine generator.
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.
Isotope
Isotope: Any two or more forms of an element having identical or very closely related chemical properties and the same atomic number (the same number of protons in their nuclei), but different atomic weights or mass numbers (a different number of neutrons in their nuclei). Uranium-238 and uranium-235 are isotopes of uranium.
Radioisotope
Radioisotope: An unstable isotope of an element that decays or disintegrates spontaneously, emitting energy (radiation). Approximately 5,000 natural and artificial radioisotopes have been identified. Some radioisotopes, such as Molybdenum-99, are used for medical applications, such as diagnostics. These isotopes are created by the irradiation of targets in research reactors.
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.
Plutonium (Pu)
Plutonium (Pu): A transuranic element with atomic number 94, produced when uranium is irradiated in a reactor. It is used primarily in nuclear weapons and, along with uranium, in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. Plutonium-239, a fissile isotope, is the most suitable isotope for use in nuclear weapons.

Sources

  1. “Кратко о нас” About us in short, Государственный научный центр Российской Федерации – Физико-энергетический институт имени А.И. Лейпунского («ГНЦ РФ – ФЭИ») State Science Center of the Russian Federation - I.I. Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (“SSC RF – IPPE”), www.ippe.obninsk.ru.
  2. “Кратко о нас” About us in short, Государственный научный центр Российской Федерации – Физико-энергетический институт имени А.И. Лейпунского («ГНЦ РФ – ФЭИ») State Science Center of the Russian Federation - I.I. Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (“SSC RF – IPPE”), www.ippe.obninsk.ru.
  3. “Research reactors: Russia,” International Panel on Fissile Materials, undated, fissilematerials.org (accessed 17 October 2012).
  4. “Международное сотрудничество” International cooperation, Государственный научный центр Российской Федерации – Физико-энергетический институт имени А.И. Лейпунского («ГНЦ РФ – ФЭИ») State Science Center of the Russian Federation - I.I. Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (“SSC RF – IPPE”), www.ippe.obninsk.ru.

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