14 Sep (NucNet): Research centres of France’s Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (atomic and alternative energy commission; CEA), will make their research reactors and other facilities available to institutions from International Atomic Energy Agency member states for education, and joint research and development (R&D) projects, Daniel Verwaerde, CEA’s general administrator, announced today.
As the first designated International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR) under a new scheme launched by the IAEA last year, CEA’s research centres in Saclay, near Paris, and Cadarache, in southern France, will become international research hubs.
“Such centres will enable researchers from IAEA member states, especially developing states, to gain access to research reactor capabilities and develop human resources efficiently, effectively, and, probably, at a lower cost,” IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said.
The IAEA said the designation was the result of a rigorous process, including the review of the application and support documentation, an audit mission performed at the CEA sites, and comprehensive evaluation and recommendation by an international selection committee made up of representatives from the global research reactor community and IAEA staff.
Andrea Borio di Tigliole, head of the research reactor section at the IAEA, said the goal of the scheme is to help member states, mainly without research reactors, gain access to research reactor infrastructure to carry out nuclear R&D and build capacity among their scientists.
Mr Verwaerde said the CEA plans to welcome 15 to 20 researchers a year at its centres.
He said the CEA’s proposal was centred on its Jules Horowitz Reactor and its ancillary facilities. “It is really important, because many countries are willing to develop their technical skills in research reactors for their future nuclear programme.
“I hope that other countries will soon join us under the ICERR designation, in order to have ICERR presence in each region of the world.”
The Jules Horowitz reactor is a European boiling water research reactor. The 100-megawatt materials testing reactor is under construction at Cadarache, based on the recommendations of the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures Report, which was published by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures in 2006.
Construction of the reactor, named after the 20th-century French nuclear scientist Jules Horowitz, began in 2009.