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Exploring innovative nuclear systems

How can we better study and understand the nuclear world?

Nuclear science is enormously complex. It was therefore an irresistible curiosity about that mysterious nuclear world that was the basis of SCK CEN in 1952. Since then, we have been delving deeper into this matter year after year, because innovation in nuclear technology does not stand still. SCK CEN actively participates in the development of Accelerator Driven Systems and lead-cooled Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).


MYRRHA: a global one-of-a-kind

With MYRRHA, we are building a world first – the first multifunctional research reactor driven by a particle accelerator. This uniqueness makes a lot of new scientific research possible: through material testing, production of medical radioisotopes and fundamental nuclear research. But first and foremost, MYRRHA serves for transmutation. As a result, we are shortening the life of very dangerous radioactive elements. In doing so, we explore innovative solutions for optimising the long-term management of irradiated reactor fuels. Researchers have already tested the principle of transmutation on a lab scale. With MYRRHA, we want to demonstrate the technology.

The lead option

Advanced reactors pose many challenges. For instance, we cannot use water to cool them, H₂O slows down the fast neutrons that are necessary to produce less nuclear waste. SCK CEN is currently investigating the use of lead or lead-bismuth as a coolant with high-tech laboratories and state-of-the-art calculation codes.

🔗 Read more about MYRRHA/MINERVA.


Super-compact, innovative reactors: SMR-LFR

SCK CEN wants to play an important role in climate-neutral energy production. By 2035, SCK CEN wants to build a Belgian demonstrator of the first lead-cooled Fast Reactor (SMR-LFR). The aim of this demonstration model is to pave the way for the commercial rollout of such innovative nuclear reactors. The demonstration model will be developed in collaboration with national and international industrial partners.

💡 Read more about SMR-LFR

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