Construction of MYRRHA, a new large research infrastructure in Belgium
October 12, 2018

Construction of MYRRHA, a new large research infrastructure in Belgium

Belgium has announced its support to the construction of MYRRHA, a world's unique research infrastructure, on SCK-CEN's premises in Mol.

MYRRHA will contribute to producing new radioisotopes and developing less invasive therapies to fight against cancer and will be put into service in 2026

MYRRHA once again puts Belgium in the international spotlight in terms of scientific research and paves the way to new applications, especially for nuclear waste management and the development of new therapies to fight against cancer, SCK-CEN says.

MYRRHA is a research facility that is paramount for society in more ways than one. According to SCK-CEN, this infrastructure will develop an innovative solution for managing nuclear waste in addition to geological disposal. By designing a technology which is able to drastically reduce the amount and radiotoxicity of high-level radioactive waste, MYRRHA will allow us to reduce the period during which waste is disposed from hundreds of thousands of years to hundreds of years.

Another huge challenge met by MYRRHA is research and development in nuclear medicine. MYRRHA will contribute to producing new radioisotopes and developing less invasive therapies to fight against cancer. This infrastructure will be put into service in 2026.

MYRRHA is the first prototype of a nuclear reactor driven by a particle accelerator in the world. In this setup, the 'subcritical' reactor core has the distinctive feature of not having sufficient fuel to maintain the nuclear fission chain reaction. The particle accelerator initiates and maintains the chain reaction. This innovative technology is therefore safe and easy to control: by turning off the particle accelerator, the reactor immediately and automatically stops.

In the words of Eric Van Walle, SCK-CEN Director General, "thanks to its unique and innovative nature, the research infrastructure will attract researchers from all over the world to Belgium and will train a new generation of experts to provide technological solutions to these major challenges".