MYRRHA: research reactor in development

MYRRHA stands for Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications. It is a multifunctional research facility for innovative applications. MYRRHA is the world’s first prototype of a subcritical lead-bismuth cooled reactor driven by a particle accelerator.

The particle accelerator is used as an external neutron source to create the chain reaction. This external neutron source is vital to maintain nuclear fission. It is a particularly safe and highly controllable nuclear technology: when the particle accelerator is switched off, the nuclear reaction stops automatically.

Ready in 2025

Less radioactive waste

Sustainable energy

The development of MYRRHA started in 1998. We plan to have this multipurpose irradiation facility fully operational by 2025. Eventually MYRRHA will replace our BR2 reactor for materials research, the production of radioisotopes (important in the battle against cancer) and silicon doping (for production of semi-conductors present in power electronic systems). In addition, MYRRHA is intended to play an important role in the training of future generations of nuclear experts.
MYRRHA also allows us to study how we can convert long-lived into short-lived waste radioactive waste. This process, known as transmutation, results in waste of reduced radiotoxicity and consequently risk. In addition, we will be able to bring down the disposal time needed for this waste from several hundreds of thousands of years to less than 1000 years.
MYRRHA shall make an important contribution to the needed change of our society to sustainable energy production. We will be testing and studying new materials and nuclear fuels with MYRRHA for the fourth generation of nuclear reactors. This generation shall make more efficient use of the nuclear fuel, so that less highly radioactive waste will remain. Also for nuclear fusion technology we can conduct advanced material research and tests with MYRRHA.

Fundamental research

Thanks to its unique properties, the MYRRHA particle accelerator is particularly interesting for fundamental scientific research. This is why we develop in parallel with MYRRHA an Isotope Separation On-Line (ISOL) infrastructure that will make a whole new category of experiments possible: ISOL@MYRRHA.

Up to 5% of the proton beam from the MYRRHA particle accelerator will be extracted and used for the production of ‘Radioactive Ion Beams’ or RIBs. ISOL@MYRRHA will focus on experiments which require long beam times without interruption. This will allow scientists to do high-precision measurements, to perform experiments hunting very rare phenomena, or experiments needing detection systems with low efficiency.

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