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Formal framework established for construction of Romania-based LFR technology demonstrator (ALFRED)

The Pitesti-based Nuclear Research Institute (RATEN ICN) yesterday joined Italy’s ANSALDO Nucleare and ENEA into the consortium charged with the implementation of the EUR 1 bln worth of ALFRED (Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator) project in Romania, following the signing of the relevant Agreement among the three parties.

According to the substantiation note accompanying the Government’s Decision approving the construction of the ALFRED project that will be installed on the platform of the Nuclear Research Institute of the Technologies for Nuclear Energy National Corporation located at Mioveni, the reason why the installation is being built is that ‘energy generated by nuclear fission is currently the main option ensuring sustainable, clean and globally competitive energy.’

The development of this project would help create at least 300 jobs for highly competent experts who should see to the technological development program and the operation of the installation.

In addition, significant opportunities will be created for the providers of services and equipment during the installation’s operation.

It is estimated that throughout the period of the investment’s unfolding (2014-2025), the providers of design, engineering, civil engineering services or equipment will need at least 2,000 experts.

The supervisory functions will be fulfilled by the Ministry of Economy and the RATEN Nuclear Power Technology Corporation, through its branch ICN Pitesti.

According to the approval issued by the Romanian Government through Memorandum of Understanding No. 2925/03.02.2011, the ALFRED demonstration reactor is installed in Romania and the Ministry of Economy promotes and supports this initiative at European level. The Pitesti-based Institute was responsible for initiating steps for the establishment of the Consortium tasked with the project’s implementation.

As a result, the Memorandum on cooperation for the development of the lead-cooled fast reactor was initialed and signed between the Institute in Pitesti — Romania, ANSALDO — Italy and ENEA — Italy.

RATEN ICN is the organization responsible for the construction of the reactor and the location thereof in Romania.

The Institute was established in 1971, at the recommendation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as a unit with complex purposes, carrying out research and development activities for reactor technologies and other nuclear installations, being solely responsible for the technical completion of nuclear reactors and the related goals until commissioning.

According to IAEA documents and specific experience in the field, building a national infrastructure for a nuclear energy program takes 10-15 years.

The Institute currently provides national technical and scientific support for the reactors in operation and has the required facilities and resources to take up responsibilities implied by hosting the new reactor prototype.

Other similar projects are implemented at European level, such as the ASTRID industrial demonstration reactor based in Marcoule at the site of the former Phoenix nuclear installations, or the MYRRHA fast spectrum installation located on the Mol platform, Belgium.

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