Research facilities

SCK•CEN has several research facilities and specialised laboratories for its own research activities and for services to partners and external clients.

Belgian Reactor 1 is a 4 MWth graphite-moderated, air-cooled reactor. BR1 offers flexible irradiation and calibration services. The reactor is available to other research centres, universities and the industry, and plays an important role in the education of scientists.  
Belgian Reactor 2 is one of the most powerful research reactors in the world, used for the testing of fuels and materials for different reactor types and for the European fusion programme. It is also a main instrument for the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial applications and for silicon doping for the electronics industry.  
Belgian Reactor 3 was a prototype of the pressurised water reactors (PWR's). It was selected as a European pilot project for the optimisation of decommissioning and decontamination techniques and processes and for the realistic assessment of costs.   
VENUS is a zero-power critical facility that was intensively used for the validation of reactor core configurations and criticality codes. During 2008 and 2009, the VENUS facility was modified in the framework of the GUINEVERE project. New experiments aim to provide an answer to the questions of on-line reactivity monitoring, subcriticality determination and operational procedures in ADS.  
The underground laboratory HADES, situated at a depth of 225 m beneath the SCK•CEN technical domain, allows the study of clay as potential geological host formation for long-lived and highly active nuclear waste.  
The laboratory for high and medium level activity evaluates the effects of irradiation on materials at use in actual and future nuclear installations. A wide variety of mechanical, physico-chemical and microstructure research tools are available in and out of remotely-operated hot-cells.

SCK•CEN has specialised laboratories for up-to-date research in radiobiologymicrobiology and radioecology (e.g. genomic platform, bioreactors, growth chambers and greenhouses).


SCK•CEN at your service

The laboratories for radiation protection dosimetry and calibration and low-level radioactivity measurements evaluate the internal contamination of employees and operators of the nuclear industry and the contamination of the territory and the food chain. 

The laboratories for reactor dosimetry, for material testing and for radiochemistry support the research reactors and other labs and provide services to external partners and clients.