24 March 2006
Completion of LEU Conversion of 14 MW TRIGA Research Reactor in Pitesti, Romania
Officials from Romania’s National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) and Institute for Nuclear Research (ICN), together with the International Atomic Energy Agency, carried out an inspection and acceptance of 179 TRIGA Low Enriched Uranium fuel assemblies at the fuel fabrication facility of AREVA/TRIGA International in Romans, France.
These research reactor fuel assemblies were delivered to ICN in Pitesti, Romania, resulting in a total of 400 FUEL elements delivered under the IAEA technical cooperation ROM/4/024 “Full Conversion of TRIGA 14-mw core from HEU to LEU”. Following the loading of these assemblies into the reactor, the full-core conversion of the TRIGA from Highly Enriched Uranium fuel to Low Enriched Uranium fuel is now complete.
The 14 MW research reactor in Pitesti, Romania is the most powerful TRIGA Research Reactor converted in the world and it is mainly used for experimental investigations on the Romanian nuclear fuels produced for Cernavoda NPP (Romania).
The Global Threat Reduction Initiative “GTRI” is to reduce, and eliminate, the use of and storage of highly enriched uranium in civil nuclear activities. This IAEA project was originally approved in 1999, but became active in 2003 with the receipt of extra budgetary contributions totalling $3.6 million from the U.S. and $0.5 Million from Romania. The total project cost was $4.4 million, with IAEA contributing $ 0.3 Million and the coordinating role.
After several years of cooling, the irradiated U.S.-origin HEU which has been removed from the Pitesti reactor will be shipped to the US under the Foreign Research Reactor Spent Fuel Acceptance program. At this point all HEU will have been removed from research reactors in Romania, which will be a significant contribution to the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) Programme of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).
The three parties to the contract (IAEA, CERCA, and Romania) developed a strong relationship and increased mutual understanding through the project, and all benefited and learned from the experience. This is the most successful example to date of an international partnership to convert research reactors under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
For further information, please contact: Arnaud Atger at email@example.com
For a related story (HEU fuel removal from the VVR-S RR at Magurele, Romania, as part of the multilateral agreement) please click here