The world’s first prototype of a high-power research reactor driven by a particle accelerator is taking shape with the contribution of Tractebel nuclear and urban experts. A First agreement worth 7,6 million euros for the design of buildings and utilities was signed on November 5.
On November 5, the first agreement for the implementation of the innovative MYRRHA research reactor was signed between the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN), Tractebel and Empresarios Agrupados Internacional. MYRRHA, which stands for Multi-purpose Hybrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications, is the world’s first prototype of a high-power research reactor driven by a particle accelerator. Its ambition is to offer a technological solution to reduce nuclear waste and produce medical radioisotopes for innovative cancer treatments.
The 7,6 million euros agreement signed on November 5 is for the design of buildings and utilities (cooling, water and electricity) of MINERVA, the particle accelerator up to 100 MeV energy, and the related Proton Target Facility. The main building is a tunnel that will be housing the first part of MINERVA and will be 150 meters long, 7.5 meters wide with a height of 3.5 meters. “We are delighted to announce that we have signed an agreement with Tractebel and Empresarios Agrupados. It is the first major contribution of MYRRHA to the Belgian economy,” said Hamid Aït Abderrahim, Deputy Director General at SCK•CEN and MYRRHA Director.
The mission of Tractebel and its partner Empresarios Agrupados Internacional will be divided into three main phases: design of the Balance of Plant (BOP) of MINERVA, preparation and follow-up of the procurement with the contractors, and assistance during the construction phase. “It is an honour for Tractebel to team up with Empresarios Agrupados Internacional in this critical design engineering mission and we thank SCK•CEN for their trust. MYRRHA is fully in line with Tractebel purpose of engineering a zero-carbon future and our strategy focused on the diversification of our nuclear expertise towards advanced technologies and medical applications,” said Denis Dumont, General Manager Business Line Nuclear at Tractebel.
The Belgian government has invested 558 million euros on MYRRHA. The implementation of the particle accelerator MINERVA, which is expected to be commissioned in 2026, is the first out of three phases of the overall MYRRHA project.
Signing Ceremony on November 5. From left, standing: Hamid Aït Abderrahim, Deputy Director General at SCK•CEN and MYRRHA Director, Marie-Christine Marghem, Belgian Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Bernard Gilliot, President of The Federation of Enterprises in Belgium. From left, seated: Maria Teresa Dominguez Bautista, Advanced Projects Director of Empresarios Agrupados Internacional, Denis Dumont, General Manager Business Line Nuclear at Tractebel, Derrick Gosselin, Chairman of SCK•CEN’s Board of Governors, and Eric van Walle, Director General of SCK•CEN.