Our fields of activity go - literally - from the deep underground to outer space.
The SCK•CEN research activities are concentrated on the following themes:
• Nuclear Materials Science
Through scientific research and numerical simulations, the institute for Nuclear Materials Science NMS wants to improve the knowledge and understanding of materials under irradiation, so as to be able to predict their behaviour. The aim is to develop and validate new materials such as nuclear fuel, structural materials and radioisotopes to be used in nuclear medicine. These activities secure SCK•CEN’s expertise and deliver high-quality services to nuclear industry.
• Advanced Nuclear Systems
In the institute for Advanced Nuclear Systems ANS extensive contributions are made to extend the present Belgian expertise in the field of developments related to Gen-IV reactor systems and ITER. In co-operation with the industry and international research teams, R&D efforts are made to develop and test innovative reactor technologies and instrumentation. This will contribute to the construction of an experimental fast spectrum installation MYRRHA for, among other things, the execution of transmutation activities.
• Environment, Health and Safety
In the institute for Environment, Health and Safety EHS radiological effects on health and the environment are evaluated and studies are carried out on the behaviour and the impact of radioactive materials in the air, in water and in the ground, using modelling and experiments. The main pillars are radiation protection, decommissioning and waste and disposal. Within these domains, SCK•CEN also pays attention to services, safeguards and policy support and it examines the integration of ethical and social aspects in nuclear applications.
• Education and training
Thanks to its vast experience of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology SCK•CEN has garnered a reputation as an outstanding research centre and outstanding centre of education and training (E&T). The E&T activities at SCK•CEN cover reactor physics, reactor operation, reactor engineering, radiation protection, decommissioning and waste management.
Our courses are intended for the nuclear industry, the medical and non-medical industry, national and international policy organisations, the academic world and the general public. E&T programmes are also organised in co-operation with universities, technical universities, nuclear power plants and public and private health services. In addition, SCK•CEN is involved in international E&T research networks and programmes such as ENETRAP, EUTERP, EUNDETRAF, CETRAD, BNEN and ENEN.
Besides providing courses, SCK•CEN offers students the opportunity to perform their research work at our laboratories. Final year students and PhD candidates can follow a programme defined by an SCK•CEN mentor, in close collaboration with a university promoter. Post-docs are mainly recruited in specialised research domains that reflect the priority programmes and R&D topics of our institute.
• New and societal topics
SCK•CEN developped a programme for integration of social aspects PISA in its nuclear research in the field of sustainable development, ethics, nuclear waste management, risk perception, communication, safety culture and nuclear law in different nuclear developments, ...
Research is being carried out on new radioisotopes and on the optimisation of diagnosis and intervention techniques.
For the European Space Agency (ESA), SCK•CEN carries out research on the effect of exposure of instrumentation and living organisms to cosmic radiation.
More information about research at SCK•CEN can be found in the section 'Our Research'.