Recently, the Belgian government gave the green light to the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) to start constructing MYRRHA, the first accelerator driven research reactor in the world. MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Application) consists of a proton accelerator delivering a particle beam to the centre of a liquid Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) cooled, subcritical nuclear core. The beam of energetic protons produces spallation neutrons at very high energies that sustain the nuclear chain reaction in the reactor core.
This accelerator driven system (ADS) concept is recognized as a promising system for the purpose of nuclear transmutation and minimization of spent fuel radiotoxicity.
Despite the considerable technological and scientific progress that has been made regarding the use of LBE as coolant and spallation target, some uncharted areas remain. One of these area is the formation and dynamic behaviour of aerosols. It is known from operating light water reactors (LWR) and sodium fast reactors (SFR) that significant quantities of nanoparticles are created, entrained in the gas stream of the reactor vessel, so-called aerosols. Lead fast reactors (LFR) like MYRRHA won’t be any different.
As these aerosols can act as carriers for hazardous radionuclides, their formation and behaviour needs to be studied to assess the risks related to radioactive release under postulated accident conditions.