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MYRRHA protons accelerated successfully

17 July '20

The MYRRHA project has achieved a further important development milestone. For the first time at SCK CEN, researchers succeeded in accelerating a proton beam through the recently connected radio frequency quadrupole (RFQ). The RFQ is a component of the particle accelerator that will drive the sub-critical research reactor. “This is an important achievement in the implementation of the MYRRHA project,” says Hamid Aït Abderrahim, MYRRHA director and deputy director-general of SCK CEN.

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The MYRRHA project is one of the most innovative research projects to be built in the European Union in the next decades. MYRRHA consists of a liquid lead-bismuth cooled fast reactor that is driven by a particle accelerator – a unique global configuration.

After hard work and despite difficult COVID-19 working conditions, the MYRRHA team succeeded in connecting and matching the radio frequency quadrupole (RFQ), a critical component of the particle accelerator that will drive the sub-critical research reactor, to the already existing installation. This allowed the accelerator team to send the first proton beam ever from the ion source through the RFQ and accelerate it to 1,5 MeV. The scientists succeeded in accelerating the first ever MYRRHA protons.

Our next step is to increase the beam’s energy and to optimise the accelerator.
Dirk Vandeplassche

Successful integration

This breakthrough was the result of close cooperation with the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3), a division of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) within the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the German engineering company NTG and accelerator and radio frequency amplifier experts IBA of Belgium.

 “Our next step is to increase the beam’s energy and to optimise the accelerator,” says Dirk Vandeplassche, who leads the linear accelerator team. “This will allow us to ensure that the accelerator will perform well under continuous and full power conditions and to therefore drive the reactor correctly. When the linear accelerator will have reached the set criteria, it will be transferred from our UCLouvain partner site to the MYRRHA site at SCK CEN in Mol.”

“This successful result is another milestone on our journey to build MYRRHA at SCK CEN
with the cooperation of committed and trusted international partners”
Hamid Aït Abderrahim, director of MYRRHA and SCK CEN deputy director-general


MYRRHA contributes significantly to society. It will enable vital research on state-of-the-art options on the treatment of high-level nuclear waste. Its setup places the MYRRHA research prototype in an ideal situation to upscale existing technology that transmutes the most toxic, long-lived nuclear waste fraction into other chemical elements with sharply improved storage requirements.

In addition, MYRRHA will be a crucial research and production infrastructure of innovative radioisotopes for cancer diagnosis and less invasive treatment.


Stijn De Preter
Communication & PR Manager MYRRHA
+32 494 26 95 85
stijn [dot] de [dot] preter [at] extern [dot] sckcen [dot] be

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