Research Reactor Section

Capabilities and Capacities of Research Reactors towards the Deployment of Innovative Nuclear Energy Systems and Technologies


The IAEA strives to foster regional and international efforts to ensure wide access to existing research reactors in order to increase their viability and utilization. In this regard, the IAEA is developing a comprehensive catalogue of existing and potential services that can be provided by existing and planned reactors for innovative nuclear energy systems and technology R&D. This activity was supported by the IAEA Technical Working Group on Research Reactors (TWGRR) during their annual meeting.

For the development of a new generation nuclear power reactors, such as those being developed in the framework of the Generation IV project and those considered in the IAEA International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) or in national programmes of IAEA Member States, maintenance and development of a sophisticated and advanced experimental base is crucial. Research reactors represent one of the major parts of this experimental base.

A broad range of research reactor applications in support of advanced materials and fuel development will be described in the catalogue, and its users will be governmental and private sector organizations responsible for the development and deployment of innovative nuclear energy systems including designers, manufacturers, vendors, research institutions, academia and other organizations directly involved in the development of materials and fuels for the nuclear energy industry. This activity of the IAEA Research Reactor Section also targets the enhancement of the Research Reactor Database (RRDB) by adding complementary information on research reactors and additional navigation options as well as contributions to the establishment of topical coalitions and Research Reactor International Centres of Excellence.

A limited number of research reactors will be included in the catalogue. The selections were made by the IAEA Secretariat in consultation with international experts. A provisional table of contents was developed by the IAEA Secretariat in consultation with international experts at two consultancy meetings held in Dec 2012 and June 2013.

A Peaceful Use Initiative project proposal currently under consideration aims to provide extensive opportunities for the IAEA Members States to identify innovative options and for research reactors to deliver benefits in a range of application areas. The proposed project is split into three phases, each of which can be viewed as valuable stand alone activity:

Phase I: Development of a Catalogue of research reactor services
Phase II: Enhancement of the RRDB and extension of its application
Phase III: Capacity building for research reactor utilization

For Phase 1 a detailed action plan was developed and is currently being implemented.

Technical Meeting, 10–12 June 2013, IAEA, Vienna

At the aforementioned consultancy meetings experts from the IAEA Member States presented the capabilities and capacities of their related research reactors and associated facilities to perform R&D using major research reactor applications The most significant requirements for existing and future reactors to bridge experimental capabilities and R&D requirements were broadly presented and discussed by the participants.

Meeting report
Preliminary table of contents of the catalogue
Document Preparation Proposal, approved by Department of Nuclear Energy document coordination team in July 2013


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