Proton acceleration success paves way for Belgian research reactor

The radio frequency quadropole has been matched with the ion source and the low-energy beam transmission line at UCLouvain, an SCK-CEN partner site. Photo: SCK-CEN

The MYRRHA accelerator team has successfully sent a proton beam through the radio frequency quadrupole (RFQ) of a project billed as “the world’s first large-scale accelerator-driven system.” MYRRHA, which stands for Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications, will be built at SCK-CEN’s site in Mol, Belgium, and will consist of a subcritical lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE)–cooled nuclear reactor driven by a high-power linear accelerator (LINAC).

IRE produces first batch of LEU-based Mo-99

Belgium’s National Institute of Radioelements (IRE) announced on April 30 that it has produced its first batch of commercial molybdenum-99 from low-enriched uranium (LEU) targets. The first batch of Mo-99, whose decay product, technetium-99m, is used in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging, was produced for the U.S. health market. IRE said that the conversion to LEU represents a key milestone for the institute in the global commitment to end the civilian use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for the production of Mo-99.