The BR2 reactor at SCK•CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre in Mol, reached its first criticality on June 29, 1961. Today, 50 years later, BR2 is still one of the world’s leading Materials Testing Reactors (MTR) and the main research tool at SCK•CEN. As a multi-purpose research reactor, BR2 is currently used for testing structural materials, fuels and instruments for application in different types of present and future nuclear reactors. SCK•CEN also produces radioisotopes and doped silicon in BR2.
On this topical day, the past achievements and current activities will be presented in order to frame the use of the BR2 reactor. This will allow a reflection on the global developments and challenges related to the peaceful applications of nuclear energy and on the role of research reactors to fulfill these needs.
Research activities to support the nuclear industry and to develop innovative nuclear systems such as Gen IV and fusion technology will be presented. In this framework, the specific new task for BR2 to support the development of the prototype accelerator driven system at SCK•CEN, namely the MYRRHA project, will be highlighted. Furthermore, non-energetic application of nuclear technology in the medical and industrial sector will be addressed.
The story of the BR2 reactor does not end today and SCK•CEN is preparing for the future to respond to the research needs in nuclear development on the mid- and long-term. These plans address the further steps to keep BR2 in an optimal condition to continue to fulfill its role as major research tool in a safe and effective way.