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The multi-purpose research installation MYRRHA drew a lot of attention at the 62nd IAEA General Conference (International Atomic Energy Agency), which was held on 17-21 September in Vienna this year. The increased interest is the result of the recent decision by the Belgian government to build this worldwide unique infrastructure, thanks to a financing of 558 million euros.
The research installation MYRRHA has a very clear ambition: to offer a technological solution to reduce nuclear waste and produce new types of medical radioisotopes. “Through a technology that drastically reduces the volume and radiotoxicity of high-level waste, MYRRHA shortens the period of storage so that, from some hundred thousand years, it goes down to some hundreds of years. MYRRHA therefore plays a crucial role for society”, explains Hamid Aït Abderrahim, SCK•CEN Deputy Director-General and Director of MYRRHA. In the future, the research infrastructure will also contribute to the research into and the production of theranostic radioisotopes (for diagnose research and therapeutic treatment).
The Belgian government acknowledges the social value of this project. The authorities consequently decided to support the project by investing 558 million euros in it. “Thanks to the Belgian financing, we can launch the construction of MYRRHA. We will start with the particle accelerator and its target facilities for fundamental and applied research as well as medical applications”, states Hamid Aït Abderrahim (SCK•CEN). Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem: “Belgium belongs to the most innovative countries in the world and plays a crucial role in the development of innovative, safe and sustainable nuclear technology through the MYRRHA project. As Special Envoy of the Federal Government to support the MYRRHA project, I focus on finding foreign partners to work jointly with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre on the further development of the prototype of a nuclear reactor driven by a particle accelerator. This increased interest is an important stimulus for foreign investors and will most certainly draw them into this very promising project.”