10 Sep (NucNet): The Belgian government has announced financing of €558m towards the development of the Myrrha nuclear research facility, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN has confirmed.
SCK•CEN said the funding, decided at a Council of Minsters meeting on 7 September 2018, will be used for construction of the first phase of the facility at SCK•CEN’s premises in Mol.
The facility, scheduled to begin operation in 2026, will produce radioisotopes and promote fundamental and applied research on materials, SCK•CEN said. Myrrha will contribute to producing new radioisotopes and to developing less invasive therapies to fight against cancer.
The facility will also be used to develop solutions for managing nuclear waste and for researching methods of deep geological disposal.
“By designing a technology which is able to drastically reduce the amount and radiotoxicity of high-level radioactive waste, Myrrha will allow us to reduce the period during which waste is disposed from some hundreds of thousands of years to some hundreds of years,” SCK•CEN said.
The Myrrha project, supported by the European Union, is to design and build a multifunctional research installation.
Myrrha will be the first prototype of a nuclear reactor driven by a particle accelerator. The system consists of a proton accelerator that delivers a beam to a spallation target, which in turn couples to a subcritical lead-bismuth cooled fast reactor.
“This innovative technology is therefore safe and easy to control,” SCK•CEN said. “By turning off the particle accelerator, the reactor immediately and automatically stops.”
SCK•CEN is one of Belgium’s largest research centres. As a public charitable foundation, it receives a grant from the federal government covering 45% of its running costs and investments. The remaining 55% comes from its own revenues.