EU reactor operators sign nuclear research policy

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SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging with technetium-99m (Tc99m). Source: Daniel S. Berman, MD, director of cardiac imaging and nuclear cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN and Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group (NRG) have partnered to establish the European Research Area of Experimental Reactors (ERAER), which stresses the importance of cooperation and implementation of a clear policy roadmap for activities in European research reactors.

The policy includes a mid- and long-term roadmap for the new European research reactors. CEA (France), SCK•CEN (Belgium) and NRG (the Netherlands) allocated the following main functions for their new reactors:

  • Reactor Jules Horowitz (Cadarache, France): a high performance materials testing reactor, already under construction;
  • MYRRHA (Mol, Belgium): a flexible fast spectrum irradiation research facility; and
  • Pallas (Petten, the Netherlands): a research reactor as the main European producer for medical isotopes. 

The ERAER paper was signed during the General Assembly of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Platform in Brussels. It emphasizes the following necessary irradiation infrastructure in the future nuclear research area:

  • Opportunities for materials and fuel testing to support reactor safety, plant life management, optimization and innovation for current and future nuclear power reactors;
  • Development of a flexible fast spectrum irradiation facility in order to put Europe in a leading position in the worldwide search for sustainable nuclear energy for tomorrow; and
  • Radioisotope production for nuclear medicine, a major commitment to public health.