TOURR Project

Towards Optimized Use of Research Reactors in Europe

DESCRIPTION of the TOURR Project

“This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2019-2020 under grant agreement No 945269”. This website contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

The primary objective of the TOURR project is to develop a strategy for Research Reactors (RRs) in Europe and prepare the ground for its implementation. This strategic goal can be divided into specific objectives:

  1. Assessment of the current status of European research reactors fleet, including plans for upgrades.
  2. Evaluation of urgent EU needs.
  3. Developing tools for optimal use of research reactors fleet.
  4. Rising awareness among decision-makers on the (future) role of research reactors.

The ambition of TOURR project is to secure access and availability of RRs as a vital part of the European Research Area and to support a stable supply of medical radioisotopes.

Nuclear RRs have been constructed in countries implementing nuclear power plants and used in experiments necessary to develop commercial reactors and training programmes.

Neutron irradiation has found new applications in the adaption and production of existing and new materials, including medical radioisotopes. The latter enabled the development of new diagnosis and treatment techniques, for the benefit of millions of patients.

Europe has a broad and very diverse landscape of research reactors, many of them have already been for 30-50 years in operation, well maintained and regularly upgraded. Yet financial pressure, caused by a combination of declining interest and the absence of a sound financial model, led to the closure of many of them. On the other hand, only one research reactor is now being constructed – the Jules Horowitz Reactor, in Cadarache.

Those negative trends call for a coordinated European action to assess the impact of the decreasing number of research reactors, identify future needs (including new neutron sources), draw a roadmap for the upgrade of the existing research reactors fleet, and a model for harmonized resource management.

The TOURR project is a response to this challenge.

The results of the preliminary analysis of the survey are presented here: Data Base of European RR fleet

Being this report public, and given the extreme sensitivity of the data shared with us by the involved RR, only general conclusions have been reported in this document.

 

Visit the project website: www.tourr.eu

Organisation of the work

The work plan is structured into five work packages (WPs)

  • WP1 – Inventory of RR (Research Reactor) fleet – led by JSI, is aimed at collecting and updating information on the European research reactor (RR) fleet and on their plans in the period 2020-2030. Furthermore, it is supposed to perform RR gap analyses in the areas of science & technology, medical matters and education & training.
  • WP2 – Assessment of needs and opportunities to support supply of medical radioisotopes –  led by NCBJ, will assess the needs and opportunities for the contribution of RRs to the medical domains including radioisotope production.
  • WP3 – Tools for optimized use of European research reactors – led by ENEN, will suggest a strategy for optimized use of European RRs and a set of tools supporting the implementation of this strategy.
  • WP4 – Dissemination and outreach – led by EVALION, will disseminate the project results to various audiences. It is also aimed at networking and raising awareness on the role of RRs in research in today’s society.
  • WP5– Project management – led by ENEN, the consortium leader, deals with coordination and consortium management activities, monitoring the progress of the other WPs, financial management and preparation of reports and reviews.

PARTNERS

Participant organization name Short name Country
1 European Nuclear Education Network ENEN Belgium
2 Centrum Výzkumu Řež CVR Czech Republic
3 Energiatudományi Kutatóközpont EK Hungary
4 Narodowe Centrum Badań Jądrowych NCBJ Poland
5 Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie / Centre d Etude de l Energie Nucleaire SCK CEN Belgium
6 Institut “Jožef Stefan” JSI Slovenia
7 Evalion SRO EVALION Czech Republic
8 Universität Stuttgart USTUTT Germany
9 Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas CIEMAT Spain

COORDINATOR CONTACT DETAILS: Dr. Gabriel Lazaro PAVEL, ENEN Executive Director, gabriel.pavel@enen.eu

Applications of Research Reactors

Nuclear research reactors can have an impact on several different domains:

EDUCATION & TRAINING – Research reactors primary use was related to education, training and technological experiments necessary to develop commercial power reactors.

MATERIAL STUDIES – Neutron beams extracted from the core soon became a powerful tool to study the matter and so high-performance research reactors devoted solely to beam experiments have been constructed. Irradiation capability of reactors found more and more applications in producing new materials and changing material properties.

HEALTH – Production of medical radioisotopes enabled the development of new diagnosis and treatment techniques. Nowadays, millions of patients each month benefit from nuclear medicine.

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