Halden Reactor Project
Ongoing
Joint project

The Halden Reactor Project has been in operation since 1958 and is the oldest NEA joint project. It brings together an important international technical network in the area of nuclear safety ranging from fuel reliability, the integrity of reactor internals, plant control/monitoring and human factors. The programme of work is updated every three years and is, in general, split into two thematic areas: nuclear fuels and materials and man, technology, organisation (MTO).

The project is operated by the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Norway and is supported by dozens of research, regulation and industry organisations in 19 countries.

From the very beginning, the project was built around in-pile experiments at the Halden boiling water reactor and complementary out of pile investigations. Numerous valuable experiments have been performed in the frame of the Halden Reactor Project and have led to an improved understanding of the behaviour of nuclear materials in various conditions for the entire nuclear community.

The 2018-2020 work programme in the nuclear fuels and materials area was originally planned as a continuation of earlier phases while taking into account the most recent needs and interests of the member organisations. In June 2018, technical and financial challenges led to the decision by the board of directors of IFE to permanently close the Halden Reactor. A revised nuclear fuels and materials work programme was developed based on the input of all involved parties and was approved by the members in December 2018. The work programme focused on post‑irradiation examinations (PIE) and experiments in hot-cells in the areas of:

  • fuel Safety and operational margins
  • cladding performance and behaviour
  • plant ageing and degradation.

Another important aspect of the revised nuclear fuels and materials work programme is the compilation, preservation and treatment of project data, as well as the development of an improved experiment database.

The closure of the Halden Reactor had only limited effect on the MTO work programme which is carried out similarly to the original planning. Different thematic areas in the field of human factors and digital systems are investigated to deliver useful results for existing nuclear power plants and also new reactors:

  • operator reliability
  • severe accident and human performance
  • safety of digital instrumentation and control systems
  • control room design and evaluation
  • future operational concepts
  • plant operation and maintenance
  • decommissioning

These investigations are carried out at specialised IFE facilities, namely the Halden Man-Machine Laboratory (HAMMLAB), the Halden Virtual Reality Centre (HVRC) and the FutureLab.

Halden Reactor Project IFE website

Articles of general interest

Participants

Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and European Commission.

Project period

Jan 2018 to Dec 2020

Budget

NOK 370 million (~ EUR 38 million)