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The future Jules Horowitz Material Testing Reactor: A way for developing international collaboration around a major European irradiation infrastructure

Abstract : Development process of a fuel product or a nuclear material before using at an industrial scale in a power reactor ranges from characterization of the material itself under neutronic flux up to its qualification in accidental conditions. Irradiations in Material Testing Reactors (MTRs) are in practice the basis of the whole process, in complement of prediction capabilities gained by modelling. Dedicated experimental reactors play also an important complementary role for some specific integral tests (e.g. RIA tests). Irradiations of precursors in power reactors are often limited to products which present a slight design evolution compare to the standard product or are implemented when a statistical approach is useful for defining a safety criterion.However European MTR park status is characterized by ageing infrastructures, which could cause operational issues in coming years, either on technological or on safety point of views. Moreover some specific supplies related to the public demand could be strongly affected (e.g. radiopharmaceutical targets). To avoid a lack in irradiation capacity offer at European level, CEA launched the Jules Horowitz Material Testing Reactor (JHR) international program, in the frame of a Consortium gathering also EDF (FR), AREVA (FR), European Commission (EU), SCK.CEN (BE), VTT (FI), CIEMAT (SP), STUDSVIK (SE), UJV (CZ), NNL (UK), IAEC (IL), DAE (IN) and as associated partnership JAEA (JP). Some institutions in this list are themselves the flagship of a national Consortium. Discussions for enlarging participation are on-going with other countries, as JHR Consortium is open to new member entrance until JHR completion.The Jules Horowitz Material Testing Reactor (JHR MTR) is under construction at CEA Cadarache in southern France and will be an important international User Facility for RandD in support to the nuclear industry, research centres, regulatory bodies and TSO, and academic institutions. It represents a unique and extremely favourable situation for which future end-users can express very early their needs, thanks to either participation to the JHR Consortium, or to international programs or through bilateral collaborations.A general presentation of this research infrastructure and associated experimental capability has been made at the 9th WWER Fuel Performance Meeting in 2011. Current paper updates in a first part the facility building status and the current design work carried out on irradiation hosting systems for nuclear materials and nuclear fuels and on non-destructive examination benches. Then expected main performances are reviewed and collaborations set up around each study are also underlined, as they often correspond to an in-kind contribution of a Consortium member. Finally, recent developments in the international co-operation around the facility are highlighted, such as for example the CEA candidacy for the IAEA designation as an ICERR (International Center based on Research Reactors) or the numerous staff of secondees working on-site.
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D. Parrat, G. Bignan, B. Maugard, C. Gonnier, C. Blandin. The future Jules Horowitz Material Testing Reactor: A way for developing international collaboration around a major European irradiation infrastructure. WWER Fuel 2015 - 11th International Conference on WWER Fuel Performance, Modelling and Experimental Support, Sep 2015, Varna, Bulgaria. ⟨cea-02509680⟩

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