The IAEA’s Research Reactor Section (RRS) works with Member States in every step of the research reactor fuel cycle or infrastructure development programme: from the initial decision to build a research reactor, to ensuring safe and effective utilization, through a lifetime of operation and maintenance, and to final decommissioning and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.
The Section’s work is centred in four main areas:
- Utilization and Applications: Ensuring the optimization of research reactor utilization, both by the Member States that host them and through Coalitions and Networks carrying out larger international projects;
- Infrastructure, Planning and Innovation: Gathering and sharing pertinent information amongst Member States about planning for research reactor projects, new and innovative research reactor technologies, and both material and human resource needs for developing research reactor infrastructure;
- Fuel Cycle: Assisting states with the development and qualification of new research reactor fuels and targets, as well as striving to minimize civilian use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) by converting HEU fuels and targets to low-enriched uranium (LEU), and assisting states in dealing with spent nuclear fuel and managing the back-end of fission based, medical isotope production processes;
- Operation and Maintenance: Working with Member States to optimize research reactor availability and reliability through the development and implementation of operational and maintenance plans, ageing management plans, training programmes and international peer reviews.
The Research Reactor Section works with Member States individually, regionally, and in international coalitions to carry out its activities. Staff support related projects organized through the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation department and work closely with staff from the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications and the Department of Nuclear Safety.
RRS projects and activities are implemented in close partnership with the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) programme, the International Group on Research Reactors (IGORR), the European Nuclear Society and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency, among other international programmes and organizations.
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Purpose and future