Some of you may know that RI traces back to INTERATOM / Siemens which focused on the development of new types of nuclear power and research reactors back in the 1980s. Building accelerators was a side activity that turned into an independent company now called RI. In the last decades, RI also supplied #SpecialManufacturing components and systems for nuclear #fusion and #research reactors like the Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) in Garching. These days, it looks like we are going back to our roots: RI contributes to the development of a new type of nuclear #reactor — by providing key components and sub-systems for a proton #accelerator.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a new type of accelerator-driven nuclear reactor that does not pose any risk of a chain reaction running out of control? And wouldn’t it be great if we could dramatically reduce the radioactive half-life time of nuclear waste by an accelerator-driven transmutation of nuclear waste?
Well, it turns out there may be an alternative: It is called Accelerator Driven System (ADS) and consists of a subcritical nuclear reactor that is driven by a high-power linear accelerator. With the subcritical concentration of fission material, the nuclear reaction is sustained by the #ParticleAccelerator only. Once you turn off the proton beam, any nuclear reactions immediately and safely come to a halt.
In Belgium, at the national nuclear research center in Mol (SCK CEN), the world’s first large-scale ADS is currently under construction. In the present Phase 1 of the MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications) implementation, the initial section of the linear accelerator, which delivers protons with energies up to 100 MeV, is being built aiming for completion by 2026. It is our great pleasure that RI was chosen for the supply of the normal conducting copper rf sections as well as the superconducting rf cavities of this accelerator.
The picture shows a 3D view of MYRRHA implementation at SCK CEN site in Mol. The tunnel hosting the linac is running in parallel to the stretched surface buildings. The larger building complex (right back) hosts the reactor.
Interested in details? Here is a link to the MYRRHA website: http://myrrha.be