Advanced nuclear systems: GEN-IV & MYRRHA (ADS)
SCK•CEN is involved in research with regard to GEN-IV technology and Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS). We are developing our own ADS, namely MYRRHA, which will be a multipurpose irradiation facility for the future. These research activities are performed within the institute for Advanced Nuclear Systems.
Generation IV technology
Evolution of nuclear reactor technology
Nuclear power plant technology has evolved as three distinct design generations:
- Current operating plants
- Advanced reactors
Reactors currently in operation in our Belgian nuclear power plants are considered of generation II. The new reactors under construction in Finland and France are of generation III, in which an enhanced safety catalogue has been considered.
The next generation of nuclear energy systems "Generation IV" must be licensed, constructed and operated in a manner that will provide a competitively priced supply of energy. They must consider an optimum use of natural resources, while addressing nuclear safety, waste and proliferation resistance and public perception concerns of the countries in which those systems are deployed.
Recognizing both the positive attributes and shortcomings of the prior generations of reactor designs, ten countries (among which Euratom is considered as a country) are working together to lay the groundwork for a fourth generation, called Generation IV. The governmental entities are working together as the Generation IV International Forum (GIF).
Because the next generation of nuclear energy systems will address needed areas of improvement and offer great potential, many countries share a common interest in advanced research and development. Such development will benefit from the identification and promising research areas and collaborative efforts that should be explored by the international research committee.
Types of design for GEN-IV
Six types of design are considered to be of "Generation IV":
- The Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR)
- The Lead Fast Reactor (LFR)
- The Gas Fast Reactor (GFR)
- The Supercritical Water Reactor (SCWR)
- The Very-High Temperature Reactor (VHTR)
- The Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)
Most of these are working with a fast neutron spectrum (neutrons are not thermalised to induce new fissions).
SCK•CEN is active in the design of the Lead Fast Reactor through the EC-FP6 project "ELSY". Through collaborations with CEA, France, we follow technologies for both SFR and GFR.
MYRRHA: Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications
A European ADS at Mol
MYRRHA is an Accelerator Driven System (ADS) under development at SCK•CEN. It aims to serve as a basis for the European ADS (eXperimental demonstration of Transmutation in an ADS) and to provide protons and neutrons for various R&D applications. It consists of a proton accelerator delivering a 600 MeV - 2.5 mA (or 350 MeV - 5 mA proton beam) to a liquid Pb-Bi spallation target that in turn couples to a Pb-Bi cooled, subcritical fast nuclear core.
The project started in 1997 and the aim is to have MYRRHA fully operational around 2022-2023.
MYRRHA as an intense irradiation neutron source could also be used for nuclear fuel and material research for present day fission reactors (PWR, BWR) and the new generation reactors (Pb-cooled fast reactor, HTGR) presently called "Generation IV" reactors and for the fusion reactor.
The purpose of MYRRHA is to serve as a multipurpose flexible fast spectrum irradiation facility for research to address:
- ADS technological demonstration
- Waste transmutation studies of minor actinides and long lived fission products
- Structural material studies for PWR, fusion and ADS type reactors
- Nuclear fuel behaviour studies for PWR, BWR and ADS type reactors
- Radioisotopes production for medical & industrial applications
- Proton beam applications
For more information, please visit the MYRRHA website