French nuclear reactor to open as test bed for advanced R&D

(NucNet: 14 Sept 2015) France To Open Nuclear Research Centers To IAEA Member States

Research centers 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 (IAEA) member states for education, and joint research and development (R&D) projects, Daniel Verwaerde, CEA’s general administrator, announced.

It is the first designated International Center based on Research Reactors (ICERR) under a new plan launched by the IAEA last year. CEA’s research centers in Saclay, near Paris, and Cadarache, in southern France, and will become and international research hub.

“Such centers 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 plan 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 centers.

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. Work on construction of the reactor, named after the 20th-century French nuclear scientist Jules Horowitz, began in 2009.

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