All news

Putin orders launch of world’s most powerful source of neutrons in Leningrad Region

Putin said he is certain that this step forward will benefit Russia

ST. PETERSBURG, February 8. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the energy launch of the world’s most powerful source of neutrons at St. Petersburg’s B.P. Konstantinov Institute of Nuclear Physics, affiliated with the Kurchatov Institute research center.

"I am asking you to put the reactor into energy operation," Putin told the participants in the launch ceremony in a video conference mode.

The research reactor PIK is one of the six projects the Russian government included in the program for creating mega-science class facilities in Russia. In contrast to most foreign projects the reactor PIK has greater neutron fluxes in the reflector, a high flux neutron trap and the possibility of irradiating materials in the reactor core.

After the launch Putin congratulated the participants in the science experiment.

"Here is my message to your team. I wish you successful and fruitful work. My congratulations upon Russian Science Day. I am inviting you to participate in the meeting of the Council for Science and Education. You institute has vast traditions and boasts specialists of an unprecedentedly high level. You have surprised the country with your discoveries more than once. I am certain that this step forward will benefit our great country," Putin said.

Reactor history

The project for building a PIK reactor with a compact core and heavy water reflector began to be created in the early 1970s as a source of highest intensity fluxes of neutrons.

The first phase of construction was completed successfully 70% by 1986. "After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, the project was fundamentally revised. Its safety was considerably improved. The expert scrutiny lasted up to 1991.

For several years the construction project remained frozen. The situation changed when the St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics was included in the pilot project for creating the Kurchatov Institute center. After the first unit was completed in February 2011 the reactor’s physical launch followed. The reactor achieved a capacity of 100 watts.