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[en] During the planned refurbishment of the BR2 reactor, CALLISTO will be removed. This inevitably means the end of one of the most flexible irradiation rigs at SCK-CEN. To partially deal with the gap this creates, a new experimental installation was built that makes it possible to precisely monitor the duration and temperature during the irradiation of structural materials. The new rig has been given the name of LIBERTY: Lifting Basket in the Experimental Rig for BR2 Thimble tube sYstem. It is based on an earlier installation, but distinguishes itself with a number of significant improvements. This enables a lot of different testing conditions. Five 'needles' can be loaded in LIBERTY: long narrow tubes in which the materials to be tested are placed. The great advantage is that the researchers are able to achieve an exceptionally large number of specifications, because they can remove each needle during the reactor operation from the reactor core. This makes it possible to select the irradiation period. Each needle can include adapted instrumentation, such as heating elements, in order to achieve different and very high temperatures. What is more, LIBERTY is equipped to test large material samples.
[en] In February 2015, the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN shut down its BR2 research reactor for a refurbishment lasting sixteen months. According to initial plans, the refurbishment had to be completed by July 2016, in particular to produce radioisotopes again for the medical sector. The most significant part of the refurbishment was the replacement of the matrix, the internal structure of the reactor vessel, which is not an easy task due to its complex lay-out. The article offers an insight into the progress of the work.
[en] In recent years, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN has been developing a versatile irradiation facility, which will replace the current BR2 research reactor in the future. This 'Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications', MYRRHA for short, is designed to be a system driven by an accelerator (Advanced Nuclear System or ADS). Such an ADS consists of a particle accelerator linked to a subcritical reactor. MYRRHA is also able to operate in critical mode like a classic reactor. Scientists and engineers have been working on the development of the MYRRHA reactor without interruption since 1998. A new revision in 2014 again brought them a step closer to completion. The article discusses the current status and several challenges, related to both the budget and the technical aspects of the design.
[en] In 1961, the BR2 reactor became critical for the first time. Yet the multi-functional research reactor at SCK-CEN is not out of date, quite the contrary. Regular upgrades and innovations keep the reactor in step with the latest advancements in technology. In 2010, the control system of BR2, a vital part of the reactor, was replaced as a preventive measure.
[en] A consortium of three French, two British, and four Flemish universities and research institutions, including the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK-CEN, started in 2014 on the construction of a neutrino experiment in the BR2 reactor. A reactor such as this is an extremely intense source of neutrinos: elementary particles that are generated as a by-product of nuclear beta decay. BR2 is particularly suitable with regard to carrying out this measurement because of the compact core, the high operating capacity, sufficient space for placing a fairly large detector, and the extremely low background radiation. The article discusses recent developments.
[en] In September 2017, the Belgian Nuclear research Center SCK•CEN was awarded the ICERR (International Centre based on Research Reactors) certificate by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Belgian research center is only the third institute in the world to receive this prestigious accolade for its scientific excellence and its unique infrastructures, which makes training other IAEA Member States possible.
[en] After a thorough service lasting 16 months, the Belgian Reactor 2 (BR-2) was successfully restarted in July 2016. The research reactor is ready for at least another decade, with ambitious perspectives in sight. The article discusses the role of BR-2 in the the production of molybdenum-99 for the diagnosis and the treatment of cancer, the development of new products for medical applications or therapies, and the testing of materials. The BREASY programme, which envisages to make the capacity of BR-2 available to scientists worldwide, was launched.
[en] The annual report gives a summary overview of key research and development activities at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK CEN in 2019. The report discusses progress and main achievements in the following areas: security and physical protection, the production of medical radioisotopes, dosimetry and radiation protection, radioactive waste management and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, radioisotopes and the treatment of cancer, particle accelerators, materials research, space applications and fusion research.
[en] The annual report gives a summary overview of key research and development activities at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN in 2017. The report discusses progress and main achievements in the following areas: reactor safety, radioactive waste and decommissioning, radiation protection, the BR-2 reactor, nuclear fuel research, radioactivity and the environment and medical applications with emphasis on dosimetry, radiotherapy and radiodiagnostics.
[en] The article discusses the analyses that were performed in order to assess of the impact of the hydrogen flakes on the mechanical properties of the vessels of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear power plants . Results from 550 tests shows no significant influence on the mechanical properties. Both reactors were given the green light by the regulator AFCN/FANC to restart operation. On specific request of the Belgian safety authorities, an interim research programme was set up in parallel to study the effects of irradiation on the material. The BR2 reactor is engaged for this research.