HEU-fueled reactor operated without license for months

The IVV-2M reactor of the Institute of Reactor Materials at Zarechny in Sverdlovsk region, Russia operated without license for about four month before being stopped on September 22, 2010 after an audit conducted by Rosatom discovered the problem. The old license expired when the institute began a reorganization and the new one had not been received by the time it was completed in the summer of 2010. The director of the institute was fired as a result. Rostekhnadzor, the Russian oversight body, issued a new license on October 12, 2010 and the reactor is expected to begin operations on October 21, 2010.

The IVV-2M reactor uses HEU fuel with enrichment of up to 90%. In 2000-2001 the institute conducted tests of fuel elements with 36% enriched HEU, but it is not known if the reactor was switched to fuel with lower enrichment. It is being used to produce iridium-192 for medical applications. The isotope is marketed by the Canadian company Oracle Trading Ltd.