Nuclear Systems Exploitation
The Nuclear Systems Exploitation (NSE) expert group that comprises physicists, nuclear reactor engineers, nuclear reactor operators and technicians, guarantees the safe operation and maintenance of the BR1 and VENUS research reactors and of the Reactor Dosimetry laboratory. Those infrastructures are used by the expert group to perform, in collaboration with national and international partners, reactor physics experiments in support of large projects such as MYRRHA and ITER. Furthermore the group provides services to nuclear power plants and to the nuclear industry.
On a routine basis the NSE group also organises lectures and lab sessions for the training of students (BNEN, Belgian and foreign universities) and engineers (nuclear industries) in the field of nuclear reactor physics.
BR1- Belgian Reactor 1
The BR1 nuclear reactor became operational in 1956 and is still in operation today. This 4 MWth air-cooled, graphite-moderated, natural uranium research reactor is mostly used for instrument calibration in reference neutron and gamma fields, cross section measurements and irradiation experiments.
VENUS - Vulcain Experimental NUclear Study
VENUS is a zero power reactor that became operational in 1964 and was used until 2006 to validate neutronic codes in water-moderated (thermal) core conditions for Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) and Boiling Water Reactors (BWR).
In 2006, SCK•CEN decided to run the GUINEVERE experiment inside the VENUS facility. The GUINEVERE project consists of inserting a fast lead core inside the VENUS, coupled to a 14 MeV neutron generator called GENEPI. The goal is to have a tool to study the reactor physics of Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) in the framework of the MYRRHA project.
The Reactor Dosimetry Laboratory
The Reactor Dosimetry service offers standard services for PWR reactors including:
- Consultancy on number, type and emplacement of dosimeters.
- Preparation of dosimeters and irradiation capsules.
- Gamma-ray spectrometry analysis of irradiated dosimeters.
- Determination of neutron fluences in collaboration with the customer.
These services are BELAC accredited according to ISO 17025.
Moreover we offer consultancy and services for retrospective reactor dosimetry and for research and reactor experiments and calibration services for neutron and gamma-ray detectors.