MYRRHA: an innovative research installation

Response to future technology challenges

Safe and efficient nuclear energy with less waste

MYRRHA is the very first prototype of a nuclear reactor driven by a particle accelerator. This ADS (Accelerator Driven System) has 2 major advantages:

An ADS has a subcritical core: this core does not contain enough fissile material to spontaneously maintain the chain reaction. It is referred to as a safe and easy to control nuclear technology: when the particle accelerator is stopped, the chain reaction also stops automatically within a fraction of a second.

The use of fast neutrons constitutes the other advantage: thanks to fast neutrons, the ADS uses the uranium fuel optimally which allows for a reduction of radioactive waste. Besides, an ADS is perfectly adapted to safe and condensed transmutation of long-lived waste.

Worldwide demand for radioisotopes

The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre is among the five world leaders in producing various types of medical radioisotopes. These isotopes are essential in diagnosis and treatment of several disease, such as cancer. SCK•CEN produces around 30% of global needs and up to 65% when the demand is high. Every year, no less than 7 million medical examinations are possible thanks to the Belgian production.

These radioisotopes are currently produced in the BR2 reactor. After its closure, MYRRHA will take on the production of radioisotopes for medical purposes in order to meet the increasing demand and secure global supply. Thanks to MYRRHA, SCK•CEN will also be able to develop new types of radioisotopes which can fight disease more efficiently as well as minimize side effects on health.

Materials and fuels for new reactors

Amongst the most efficient and flexible reactors in the world, the BR2 has been playing a major role for several decades in international research on safety, materials and fuels for reactors as well as in the European nuclear fusion programme. The MYRRHA research installation will take on this crucial role to allow us to go even further into developing nuclear fusion technology.

Irradiation tests in MYRRHA will be the basis for the development of materials and components of future nuclear systems. These will be safer, use uranium stocks more efficiently and will produce less radioactive waste.