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MYRRHA - a Multi-National Demonstration Program for Incineration of Spent Nuclear Fuel Wastes Status of MYRRHA and ISOL@MYRRHA in March 2010

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Camille M. Ginsburg
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Camille M. Ginsburg
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23 Jul 2010, 08:33
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23 Jul 2010, 08:33
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23 Jul 2010, 08:33
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The MYRRHA project started in 1998 by SCK•CEN in collaboration with Ion Beam Applications (IBA, Louvain-la-Neuve), as an upgrade of the ADONIS project. MYRRHA is designed as a multi-purpose irradiation facility in order to support research programmes on fission and fusion reactor structural materials and nuclear fuel development. Applications of these are found in ADS systems and in present generation as well as in next generation critical reactors. The first objective of MYRRHA however, will be to demonstrate on one hand the ADS concept at a reasonable power level and on the other hand the technological feasibility of transmutation of Minor Actinides (MA) and Long-Lived Fission Products (LLFP) arising from the reprocessing of radioactive waste. MYRRHA will also help the development of the Pb-alloys technology needed for the LFR (Lead Fast Reactor) Gen.IV concept.
Transmutation of MA can be completed in an efficient way in fast neutron spectrum facilities. Both critical reactors and sub-critical Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) are potential candidates as dedicated transmutation systems. However, critical reactors, heavily loaded with fuel containing large amounts of MA, pose safety problems caused by unfavorable reactivity coefficients and small delayed neutron fraction. A sub-critical ADS operates in a flexible and safe manner even with a core loading containing a high amount of MA leading to a high transmutation rate. Thus, the sub-criticality is not a virtue but rather necessity for an efficient and economical burning of the MA. Besides the reduction of the HLW burden, the MYRRHA project will serve the purpose of developing the lead alloys technology as a reactor coolant that can be used one of the Generation IV reactor concepts namely the Lead Fast Reactor (LFR).
Although carrying out the MYRRHA project will lead to the demonstration of the efficient and safe transmutation of MA in ADS systems as the ultimate goal the implementation of such a project will in addition trigger the development of various innovative technologies and techniques that are of interest for various nuclear fission and fusion applications. These include :
• The development of new martensitic steels resisting high level irradiation embrittlement in combination with heavy liquid metals and high temperature induced corrosion.
• The development of ultrasonic visualisation systems (sensors, full-camera) able to operate under liquid metals at high temperature (300-500°C) and high dose rates (many MGy of gamma-rays and neutrons);
• The development of the heavy liquid metal technology in terms of pumping, conditioning, filtering, monitoring;
• The development of very reliable (few beam trips per years instead of the present few thousands) high power proton accelerators (10 to 100 MW of beam power);
• The development of advanced remote handling (robotics) systems able to operate in radioactive environment and also under heavy liquid metals;
• The development and testing in real conditions of advanced nuclear fuel containing large amounts of MA;
• The development of high power liquid metal spallation source;
• The development of high intensity RIB facility for fundamental physics called ISOL@MYRRHA;
Since March 2009, MYRRHA received the financial support from the Belgian government for 40% share of the total cost with the funding of a first stage 2010-2014 funded for 60 M€.
In this seminar the present status of the project and its capabilities as an irradiation facility as well as the ISOL@MYRRHA (RIB facility) characteristics will be presented.
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