Visit to VENUS
The VENUS research reactor, which stands for Vulcan Experimental Nuclear Study, has been operational since 1964. This flexible facility has already been renovated and modernised several times.VENUS was initially used to study the optimal nuclear fuel configuration for various reactors. As a result of the flexibility of VENUS we were able to simulate different fuel compositions.
Experiments for new systems
In 2008 SCK•CEN began the complete rebuilding of VENUS for the GUINEVERE project (Generator of Uninterrupted Intense NEutrons at the lead VEnus REactor). The project started in 2010 and since then the reactor has been known as VENUS-F. With GUINEVERE we realised a World’s first: the first scale model of a subcritical reactor with a total lead core driven by a particle accelerator.
GUINEVERE plays an essential role in research into accelerator driven systems or ADSs, of which MYRRHA will be the first test and research reactor. With the construction of GUINEVERE as a scale model, we have made a significant step forward in the further development of MYRRHA. We are now running an experimental programme to validate measurement methods for determining the subcriticality (an important safety parameter) of the system in different operating conditions.
This will contribute to the safety of future ADSs which will, among other things, be capable of performing transmutation, a process whereby radioactive waste with very long half-life is transformed into waste that is far less radiotoxic.