Feature: Netherlands to build new nuclear reactor for medical isotopes
The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG), which operates the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, has plans to build a new reactor to produce medical isotopes.

Juliette van der Laan, NRG spokesperson, told TriMed Media that Pallas is scheduled to be operational in 2016 and full-scale isotope production is anticipated to start by the end of that year--provided all financial resources for the project are available in time.  

“The most important characteristic of Pallas will be its operational flexibility which will make it possible to respond immediately to the fluctuating demands for isotopes. Operational power for Pallas will be adjustable and in a range of 30-80 MW power. Pallas has the capacity to be the world's largest producer of medical isotopes,” she said.

She stated that Pallas will meet the safety requirements of International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Pallas will be a tank-in-pool type (research) reactor and operate on low-enriched uranium fuel. It will have high annual availability and irradiation capacity optimized for both isotope production and material and fuel research for fission and fusion reactors," she said. "Innovative materials and fuels will be tested to ensure safe and reliable future energy production.

“The next phase of the Pallas project--the development of the detailed design--will be funded by the regional government. For the construction phase, NRG foresees a public-private investment,” van der Laan said.

Two locations are being investigated for the new reactor, she said. The first is Petten, on the North Sea Coast (where the present High Flux Reactor and medical processing facilities are situated) and the second is Borssele, in the Zeeland Province (where an existing nuclear power plant and the national nuclear waste management organization are located).

The new reactor is named Pallas after the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge, Pallas Athena.