March 26, 2021
SCK•CEN is at the forefront of Heavy Liquid Metal (HLM) nuclear technology worldwide with the development of the MYRRHA accelerator driven system (ADS). MYRRHA is serving since the FP5 EURATOM framework as the backbone of the P&T strategy of the European Commission based on the "4 building Blocks at Engineering level" and fostering the R&D activities in EU related to the ADS and the associated HLM technology developments.
At the same time MYRRHA is conceived as a flexible fast-spectrum pool-type research irradiation facility cooled by Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE), and was identified by SNETP (www.snetp.eu) as the European Technology Pilot Plant for the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor. MYRRHA is proposed to the international community of nuclear energy and nuclear physics as a pan-European large research infrastructure to serve as a multipurpose fast spectrum irradiation facility for various fields of research such as; transmutation of High Level Waste (HLW), material and fuel research for Gen.IV reactors, material for fusion energy, innovative radioisotopes development and production and for fundamental physics. As such MYRRHA is since 2010 on the high priority list of the ESFRI roadmap (http://www.esfri.eu/roadmap-2016).
Since 1998 SCK•CEN is developing the MYRRHA project as an accelerator driven system based on the lead-bismuth eutectic as a coolant of the reactor and a material for its spallation target. The nominal design power of the MYRRHA reactor is 100 MWth. It is driven in sub-critical mode (keff = 0.95) by a high power proton accelerator based on LINAC technology delivering a proton beam in Continuous Wave (CW) mode of 600 MeV proton energy and 4 mA intensity. The choice of LINAC technology is dictated by the unprecedented reliability level required by the ADS application. In the MYRRHA requirements the proton beam delivery should be guaranteed with a number of beam trips lasting more than 3 seconds limited to maximum 10 for a period of 3 months corresponding to the operating cycle of the MYRRHA facility. Since 2015, SCK•CEN and Belgium government decided to implement the MYRRHA facility in three phases to minimize the technical risks associated to the needed accelerator reliability.
On September 7, 2018 the Belgian federal government decided to build this large research infrastructure. In this lecture we will present the status of the MYRRHA project as a whole and in particular stressing the role of Accelerator Driven Systems in closing efficiently the nuclear fuel cycle and burning the Minor Actinides for reducing the radiotoxicity burden in the high level storage.
Prof. Dr. Hamid Aït Abderrahim is the Deputy Director-General of SCK•CEN , the Belgian nuclear research center. He lectures reactor physics and nuclear engineering at the "Université Catholique de Louvain" (UCLouvain) at the mechanical engineering department of the "Ecole Polytechnique de Louvain (EPL )".
Since 1998, he is the director of the MYRRHA project, an accelerator driven system (ADS) coupling a sub-critical Pb-Bi cooled reactor and a high power proton linear accelerator through a spallation target.
He is or has been coordinator of various projects of the European Commission framework programme related to advanced nuclear systems and the advanced nuclear fuel cycle.
He is member of various scientific councils or research organizations or international institutes such as:
- Member of the National Council of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office
- Past-Chairman of SNETP - Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform
- Member of the Scientific Council of LabEx P2IO (Laboratoire d’Excellence de Physiques des 2 Infinis et des Origines en France)
- Member of the International Advisory Committee of J-PARC: Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex
- Vice-Chair of the Nuclear Science Committee (NSC) of OECD/NEA
- Member of the Scientific Council of EDF (Electricité de France)
- Member of the Belgian section of the World Energy Council
- Member of the Scientific Councils of the Nuclear Research Center of Birine of COMENA in Algeria
He is author of more than 100 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences.
In February 2015 he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania for his personal achievements and his long term collaboration with the Kaunas University of Technology and more specifically with the Baršauskas Ultrasound Research Institute.
He is very engaged in the socio cultural world actif in the exchange with the South such as the Aïn El Kheir Club which he started himself in 2015 and also chairs and various associations linked to the Algerian community in Belgium and Luxemburg.
Last but not least in April 2014, he has been honoured by the King of Belgium by nominating him as “Grand Officer in the Crown Order” for his contributions in the scientific representation of Belgium in the field of nuclear energy science and closing the fuel cycle.