Key contact persons: Dr. Konstantina Lambrinou, Dr. Marc Verwerft, Mrs. Margot Degrève
The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, SCK•CEN, was founded in 1952 as a foundation of public utility with legal status according to private law, under the tutorial of the Belgian Federal Minister of Energy. More than 700 employees realize an annual turnover of 95 M€. The SCK•CEN statutory mission gives priority to research on issues of great societal concern, such as the safety and efficiency of nuclear installations; protection of mankind and environment from ionising radiation; production of radioisotopes for the medical sector; decommissioning, safe treatment and disposal of radioactive waste; non-proliferation of fissile materials; development of innovative nuclear systems, e.g., the irradiation facility MYRRHA; and education and training. SCK•CEN performs its research activities and provides services in line with a carefully-defined research strategy that corresponds to the needs of the nuclear sector and the Society in general. To accomplish its mission, SCK•CEN operates several irradiation facilities, amongst which the pivotal to the IL TROVATORE success BR2 (Belgian Reactor 2) reactor.
SCK•CEN comprises three scientific institutes, i.e., the Institute of Nuclear Materials Science (NMS), the Institute of Advanced Nuclear Systems (ANS), and the Institute for Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). In particular, NMS carries out research on materials and fuels used both in present and future nuclear reactor systems. SCK•CEN has a long-standing experience in participating and/or coordinating projects funded by the European Commission.
Moreover, SCK•CEN is often involved in international cooperations with scientific and industrial institutions, while it regularly gives advice to leading bodies, such as the IAEA, the United Nations and the OESO Nuclear Energy Agency, upon request. Apart from its irradiation facilities and ‘hot’ laboratories, SCK•CEN has a long-standing experience in the execution and follow-up of irradiation campaigns, while it boasts a range of unique set-ups for mechanical and corrosion tests in various environments (water, heavy liquid metals). SCK•CEN has contributed to the already-concluded projects FP5 EUROTRANS, FP7 GETMAT, FP7 MATTER and FP7 MatISSE with research activities addressing the mechanical and corrosion behaviour of standard nuclear grade steels (e.g., austenitic stainless steels and ferritic/martensitic steels) as well as innovative nuclear materials, such as the MAX phases.
The primary contribution of SCK•CEN to IL TROVATORE is performing the MISTRAL neutron irradiation of ATF cladding materials & their joints/welds in BR2 (WP7) and being responsible for the project coordination (WP13). Other SCK•CEN contributions include: WP1 – processing optimisation of bulk MAX phases (joint work with KU Leuven); WP4 – advanced characterisation of ATF clads by HRTEM/STEM; WP5 – water corrosion tests; WP6 – PIE of ion/proton-irradiated ATF clads; WP8 – PIE of neutron-irradiated ATF clads & their joints; WP9 – predictive modelling activities; and WP12 – Data Management, Dissemination & Communication activities.