SCK-CEN BR1 and BR2 Research Reactors (SCK-CEN)
Core Data
Hosting Legal Entity
Belgian Nuclear Research Centre
Boeretang 200, Mol, PO: 2400 (Belgium)
Boeretang 200, Research Centre Mol, Mol, PO: 2400 (Belgium)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1956
Scientific Description
Mission and objectives
The BR1 was the first Belgian reactor. It was critical for the first time on May 11, 1956. A critical reactor is a reactor in which an itself maintaining chain reaction occurs. The critical state is a normal state of activity of an operational reactor.The BR1 is an air-cooled reactor with graphite as moderator. It is a flexible instrument for fundamental research and training. BR2 is one of the world's principal high-flux materials testing reactors providing a multipurpose capability for many nuclear and non-nuclear scientific research and commercial applications.Acknowledged to be a key European research tool and by participating in European, national and international R&D programmes, BR2 contributes to the evolution of science and technology, particularly in the field of nuclear safety. Whilst within a national context, it exists primarily as research tool in support of the Belgian commercial PWR's.

RI Keywords
Neutron facility, Radioisotope production, Gamma rays, Materials testing reactors
RI Category
Nuclear Research Facilities
Scientific Domain
Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Mathematics
ESFRI Domain
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Gamma irradiations

SCK•CEN is operating several gamma irradiation facilities, with gamma dose rates ranging 50-700 Gy/h, 1-15 kGy/h* for Co-60 irradiations and 50-1400 Gy/h for spent fuel elements. In both case exposed materials present no radiological danger after the exposure. These facilities allow to cover various application areas dealing with ionizing radiation. We can provide support in preparing radiation qualification and an irradiation experiment design.

Production of neutron doped silicon

Doped silicon is a perfect semi-conductor for high energy electrical applications such as wind turbines, solar energy installations, hybrid vehicles and high speed trains. This semi-conductor facilitates the efficient transport of electricity over very long distances. All these applications require very homogenous doped silicon – our speciality thanks to the BR2 reactor. Neutron Transmutation Doped (NTD) silicon is produced for the semiconductor industry in the SIDONIE (Silicon Doping by Neutron Irradiation Experiment) facility, which is designed to continuously rotate and traverse the silicon through the neutron flux. These combined movements produce exceptional dopant homogeneity in batches of silicon measuring 4 and 5 inches in diameter by up to 750 mm in length. The construction of POSEIDON (POol Side Equipment for Irradiation and DOping of silicon by Neutrons) in 2008, a new NTD silicon Pool Side Facility, increased BR2's NTD silicon capability and meet today's increasing demand for irradiation of 6 and 8 inches diameter silicon ingots. A reliable and qualitative supply of NTD-silicon is provided to the customers in accordance with a quality system that has been certified to the requirements of "EN ISO 9001 : 2000". This new Quality System Certificate has been obtained in December 2006 for the "Production of Neutron Transmutation Doped (NTD) Silicon" in the BR2 reactor. High resistivity NTD silicon can also be obtained in the BR1 reactor. Thanks to its large irradiation channels, silicon crystals of up to 8 inch can be irradiated. The low neutron flux gradients ensure high dopant homogeneity without the need of crystal transposition or rotation during the irradiation.

High neutron flux irradiation

- A remarkable flexibility in core configuration and operation mode serves a full spectrum of experimental needs - High neutron fluxes both thermal and fast, up to 1015 n/cm² s - Online instrumentation - A full 3-dimensional Monte Carlo neutron particle transport code - An on-site laboratory for post irradiation examination on irradiated fuel or material - A dedicated team

Radioisotope production

Due to the availability of high neutron fluxes (thermal neutron flux up to 10^15 n/cm².s), the BR2 reactor is considered as a major facility through its contribution for a continuous supply of products. The BR2 reactor offers irradiation services for the production of many radioisotopes with applications ranging from medical diagnostics or therapy to industrial applications.

Belgian Reactor 2

The BR2 reactor was first operated in January 1963. This Materials Testing Reactor is SCK•CEN's most important nuclear facility. It was operated during the past fifty years within the framework of many international programmes concerning the development of structural materials and nuclear fuels for various types of nuclear fission reactors as well as for fusion reactor research.The BR2 reactor also plays an important role for the development and production of materials for nuclear medicine and electronics and (renewable) energy applications worldwide.

Belgian Reactor 1

Nowadays the reactor works on request of the experimenters, for at most 8 hours a day, at a maximum power of 700 kW (short periods up to 1 MW are also possible). The cooling for this reduced power can be guaranteed by an auxiliary fan.

Additional Data