International Conference on Research Reactors:
Safe Management and Effective Utilization

14-18 November 2011, Rabat, Morocco

Multipurpose Utilisation of a Medium Flux Research Reactor — Benefit for the Society

L. Rosta
Research Institute for Solid State Physics and Optics, Budapest, Hungary


The Budapest Research Reactor (BRR) was restarted after a major refurbishment and increase in power to 10 MW in 1992. Basically, the experience gained with the utilization of this multipurpose facility during the past 20 years is described here. The utilization aims for 3 major activities: i) Research and development base for the energy sector: scientific and safety support for the Paks NPP; research in energy saving and production. ii) A complex source of irradiations for materials testing and modification, diagnostics in nanotechnologies, engineering, healthcare etc. iii) Neutron beams from the horizontal channels of the reactor serve for exploratory as well as for applied research in a very wide range of disciplines. Graduate and professional training is also in the scope of our activity. The reactor went critical first in 1959. It served nearly 3 decades as a home base for learning nuclear sciences and technologies, to development nuclear energetics, which resulted in launching four power plant blocks in the eighties, as well as to establish neutron beam research in our country. Nearly 20 years passed now that the decision was made — after the falling of the Īron Curtain" — the practically brand new 10 megawatt reactor should be commissioned and opened for the international user community. The reactor reached its nominal power in May 1993 and neutron beam experiments were available on 4 instruments at that time. Thanks to a continuous development the number of experimental stations now is 15, the research staffs has grown from 10 to nearly 50 scientists and research facilities have been improved considerably. A few important milestones should be mentioned: a liquid hydrogen cold source was installed and the neutron guide system was replaced by a supermirror guide configuration, yielding a factor of 50–80 gain in neutron intensity; a second guide hall was constructed to house a new time-of-flight instrument; BRR became a member of the European neutron scattering network (NMI3). In 2010, the core conversion programme was completed, namely the change of the fuel from high enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) and subsequently a stock of new fuel will ensure the safe operation of BRR for at least a decade to come.

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