MAX team is delighted to announce a “world premiere”: the first coupling of the GUINEVERE experimental ADS reactor

In News — January 13 2012

The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-EN) in Mol, successfully coupled a reactor to a particle accelerator. For the first time in the history of nuclear science, a demonstration model of a reactor, with a lead core and a particle accelerator, is in operation. The installation is subcritical because the reactor stops when the accelerator is turned off.

Guinevere is a demonstration model of an accelerator driven system or ADS. The accelerator was built by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). The Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) assisted in developing the concept and provided the fuel for the reactor. The inauguration of GUINEVERE took place in March 2010 at SCK-CEN in Mol. During almost two years the accelerator and the reactor have been submitted to a long series of tests.

GUINEVERE, designed to support the MYRRHA project, is a test installation with a limited power. It is very important for the fine-tuning of the operation and control of future subcritical reactors, such as MYRRHA. Unlike conventional reactors systems, GUINEVERE and MYRRHA produce fast neutrons that can be used for the transmutation of high level radioactive waste. Transmutation is the fission of long-lived radioactive waste into products that are much less radio-toxic.