Research Reactor Section


Infrastructure, Planning and Innovation:

Rationale:

Increasing global interest in a number of peaceful nuclear technology applications, including nuclear generated electricity, is manifesting itself in a growing demand for a variety of research reactor capabilities. However, available and technically capable facilities around the world are increasingly challenged to satisfy the increasing technical demands. With respect to the physical systems, structures and components; many Member States currently operating older research reactors are faced with difficult decisions regarding whether to decommission these facilities and invest in new, state of the art technology or initiate significant, complicated modernisation projects. Member States with little to no nuclear infrastructure are seriously considering research reactor projects as a stepping-stone to an eventual power programme, but lack the supporting organisations, institutions and experience required to initiate and effectively manage such an endeavour. Work in this area is designed to gather, consolidate and share pertinent information from within interested Member States regarding research reactor technical capabilities as well as the planning and implementation of different projects to deploy new or innovative systems, structures and components to achieve the desired ends. Activities will also address infrastructure, human resources and institutional arrangements needed for new national and regional research reactors.

This task is designed to fulfil these needs by collecting and sharing relevant information, including best practices and lessons learned.

Objective:

To increase the competence of interested Member States to plan and implement large scale research reactor modernization and refurbishment projects including the construction of major research reactor systems, new national or regional research reactors and implementation of innovative systems, structures and components to satisfy evolving demands for research reactor goods and services.



Projects:


Coordinated Research Project No. 1548
Feasibility Evaluation of the Use of LEU Fuelled Homogeneous Aqueous Solution Nuclear Reactors for the Production of Short Lived Fission Product Isotopes


Documentation:

Research Reactor Modernization and Refurbishment

IAEA-TECDOC-1625

Throughout their lifetime, research reactors must address deficiencies and new requirements that evolve over time. Reactor organizations undertake an array of work activities to either re-establish performance that has degraded over time, maintain performance in the face of changing conditions (such as System Structure or Component (SSC) obsolescence) [refurbishment] or adapt to new customer or regulatory demands [modernization]. The scope of this publication includes work typically implemented as a site capital engineering project or series of smaller individual sub-projects.

Many organizations have completed M&R projects. Many more are faced with the need to complete projects in the future. Increasing interest in the application of a variety of peaceful nuclear technologies has resulted in an increasing demand for research reactor goods and services. Therefore, and in the context of advancing reactor age and often diminishing resources, pressure has increased to optimize large capital projects with respect to both cost and schedule. One way to optimize project implementation is to incorporate lessons learned from the implementation of similar projects elsewhere. TECDOC-1625 and the research reactor Ageing Database facilitate the sharing of information to achieve that objective.

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Homogeneous Aqueous Solution Nuclear Reactors for the Production of Mo-99 and other Short Lived Radioistotopes

IAEA-TECDOC-1601

This publication presents a summary of discussions from a consultants meeting on the merits and challenges associated with the operation of aqueous homogenous reactors (AHRs) for the production of the isotope technetium-99m (99mTc) and includes the technical presentations given by the participants during the meeting. Currently, 80% of all radiopharmaceutical procedures employ 99mTc, a product of the decay of the isotope 99Mo. It is normally obtained through the fission of highly enriched uranium (HEU), but research has shown that the use of AHRs offers an attractive alternative to the conventional target irradiation method of producing 99Mo. The elimination of the need for targets allows the reactor to run at much lower power and therefore holds interest for companies developing innovative solutions to satisfy increasing demands for medical isotopes.

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