Research, training and experimental reactors
In the Czech Republic, there are two research reactors operated at the Nuclear Research Institute Řež, LVR-15 and LR-0, and a training VR-1 reactor operated by the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering in Prague. All these reactors use enriched uranium for fuel and light water for reactor core moderation and cooling. Research reactors are used for nuclear fuel testing, material engineering, irradiation experiments, the production of radioisotopes for the healthcare industry, validation of calculation codes, and testing of neutron detectors and measuring equipment. Reactors vary in terms of their power output and construction, which is designed with respect to their required purpose.
ŠKODA JS has designed and supplied a total of 5 such reactors. The projects included design, production, delivery, assembly, commissioning and maintenance.
The first project of this kind was a ŠR-0A light-water experimental reactor, which we delivered in 1970 and which was later converted into an experimental light-water reactor, ŠR-0. It was installed not far from Pilsen, at a ŠKODA facility in Vochov. It was decommissioned in 1989.
The following projects involved deliveries of an experimental light-water research reactor, LVR-15, for the Nuclear Research Institute Řež (1989) and a training light-water experimental reactor, VR-1, for the Czech Technical University in Prague (1990). Both reactors are in use to this day. In 2006, we innovated the independent power protection channels, and in 2008 we refurbished the control system of an LR-0 reactor. In the same year, we supplied a supercritical water loop to the Nuclear Research Institute and carried out its assembly; the equipment is still in operation to this day.
Since 2014, we have successfully expanded our activity in the area of research reactors outside the Czech Republic.
For our Belgian customer SCK-CEN, we produced and supplied more than 150 main and hundreds of smaller stainless steel internal parts for the BR2 research reactor, for which there were very strict requirements for accuracy. To our customer in the USA, we supplied a total of 12 control rod drives of our own design for the WWR-K light-water research reactor in Kazakhstan. We also produced control rod drives of our design for the Atominstitut in Austria, which operates the TRIGA research reactor in Vienna. Part of this project was also the refurbishment of the reactor instrumentation and control system.
We supplied and continue to work on other projects for ITER – a nuclear fusion reactor under construction in Cadarache in the south of France, e.g., the production of a 1:1 scale model and feasibility verification of a technical solution of reactor upper nozzle flanges; a design study of the process of tightening bolted joints between the portal of the vacuum vessel and the plugs; development of the production process for the ITER vacuum vessel seal and verification using a vacuum/pressure test (design, production and testing of a 1:1 scale model); the new design of a manipulator for inserting and removing portal plugs into/from a test vessel installed at Cryogenmash, Russia. The portal plugs weigh as much as 48 tons!
In 2019, work continued on the so-called Control Rod Drive Position Indicators project for a research reactor (IPMAB system) for a Brazilian customer, where test procedures were defined and added to application software and HMI interfaces. At the same time, the subject of the contract was extended to include connecting cables for control rod drives and qualification for 30 years of operation. Furthermore, work was carried out on the control system of the research reactor control rod drive engines (EXMAB system).
The history of our cooperation
1970design and delivery of the first experimental reactor, ŠR-0A, which in 1975 was converted into an experimental light-water reactor, ŠR-0
1971design and delivery of an experimental heavy-water subcritical reactor, ŠR-0B (decommissioned in 1978)
1972design and delivery of a large critical heavy-water experimental reactor, TR-0
1982commissioning of a large critical light-water experimental reactor, LR-0, which had been converted from a TR-0 reactor
1989design and delivery of an experimental light-water research reactor, LVR-15
1990design and delivery of a research and training light-water experimental reactor, VR-1
2006innovation of independent power protection channels at a VR-1 reactor
2008refurbishment of an LR-0 reactor control system
2008delivery and assembly of a supercritical water loop
a model produced for the purpose of feasibility verification of a technical solution of reactor upper nozzle flanges at the ITER reactor (France)
2015delivery of 158 main and hundreds of smaller stainless steel internal parts for a BR2 reactor (Belgium)
2015development and delivery of control rod drives for a WWR-K research reactor in Kazakhstan
2015refurbishment of the reactor instrumentation and control system and delivery of control rod drives for the TRIGA research reactor in Vienna
since 2014various design projects for the ITER nuclear fusion reactor in France, e.g., 2018 – new design of a manipulator for inserting and removing portal plugs into/from a test vessel installed at Cryogenmash, Russia
since 2018Control Rod Drive Position Indicators project for a research reactor in Brazilia