Facility will be first prototype of a nuclear plant driven by a particle accelerator A computer-generated image of the planned Myrrha research reactor facility. Courtesy SCK•CEN. The Myrrha project has achieved a development milestone after researchers at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) succeeded for the first time in accelerating a proton beam through the recently connected radio frequency quadrupole (RFQ).

The RFQ is a component of the particle accelerator that will drive the sub-critical research reactor, under construction at Mol in Belgium.

SCK•CEN said the Myrrha accelerator team had connected the RFQ component with the already existing low-energy beam transmission line (LEBT). The team then fine-tuned the RFQ to accurately match it to the LEBT. Another major step consisted of upgrading the ion source amplifier. “In addition, an RF power amplifier for the RFQ was developed and constructed,” SCK•CEN said.

“The results show that the team succeeded well in integrating the RFQ,” said Dirk Vandeplassche, who leads the linear accelerator team. “The RFQ’s geometry and build quality have proven themselves with an initial test.

“Our next step is now to obtain detailed proton beam measurements in order to further optimise the setup.”

The Myrrha project, supported by the European Union, is to design and build a multifunctional research installation.

Myrrha will be the first prototype of a nuclear reactor driven by a particle accelerator. The system consists of a proton accelerator that delivers a beam to a spallation target, which in turn couples to a subcritical lead-bismuth cooled fast reactor.

SCK•CEN said Myrrha will enable research into the treatment of high-level nuclear waste. It will be crucial for the research and production of radioisotopes for cancer diagnosis.

In December 2018 Belgium approved €558m in funding for Myrrha. In 2010, it gave the go-ahead for construction. Belgium is to contribute 40% of the €1.6bn investment. The Myrrha project is a partnership of Belgium, the European Union, the European Investment Bank and other partners, with 70% of the funding from EU countries.

Date: Friday, 24 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/belgium-s-sck-cen-announces-development-milestone-7-4-2020