Today, the European Commission awarded the winners of the Nuclear Innovation Prize. This prize, awarded at the FISA 2022 & EURADWASTE ’22, gives recognition to outstanding researchers or engineers who have found innovative ideas or proposed new solutions in the fission area. There are 2 specific categories: Nuclear Innovation Prize in safety of reactor systems & Nuclear Innovation Prize in radioactive waste management.
Winners in the category of safety of reactor systems
- First prize (€50 000): MultiProtectFuel by Czech Technical University in Prague
Nuclear fuels have been under continuous development for several decades, however, they are still based on the traditional material combination UO2+Zr alloy. As a response to the Fukushima-Daiichi events, new materials called Accident Tolerant Fuels have been developed and are under testing in commercial reactors. One of the most mature concepts is chromium coated Zr cladding that has several disadvantages. Some of them are resolved by the developed multiprotect cladding which takes advantage of a complex coating system. The project represents excellent engineering and scientific value.
- Second prize (€30 000): MitMAT by Iberdrola Generación Nuclear SA and Innomerics S.L.
Awarded for the development of a non-invasive, monitoring system capable of real-time characterization of flow-induced pressure fluctuations that can damage safety related components located in the main steam system of nuclear reactors; as well as the development of a first-of-a-kind sleeve that can be integrated in the nozzle of safety relief valves in order to eliminate these pressure fluctuations without the need for performing costly modifications
- Third prize (€20 000) is equally split between the following two applications:
GUARDYAN by Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
The increase in fidelity of nuclear simulations directly translates to increased nuclear safety. Recent advances of High-Performance Computing grant green light to talk about “ultimate fidelity” calculations. The GUARDYAN code harvests the computing power of high-end graphics cards to predict with ultimate precision the behaviour of a nuclear reactor for rapid changes occurring in the core. Comparing to experimental data of a currently operating Nuclear Power Plant unit, GUARDYAN has demonstrated that ultimate fidelity calculations can now be put into everyday reactor practice.
DH-LDR by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.
In 2020, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland launched the development of a low-temperature nuclear reactor LDR-50, specifically designed for district heating. The invention is related to the passive heat removal function in the LDR-50 reactor, which relies on the natural circulation of water without any mechanical moving parts. Mitigating the consequences of climate change requires drastic reductions in CO2 emissions, not only in electricity production, but throughout the entire energy sector. DH-LDR project can alleviate obstacles with the acceptance of urban siting of low temperature reactor for district heating.
Winners in the category of waste management
- First prize (€50 000): ARCTERIX by Bo Wilhelm Cederwall and Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan.
ARCTERIX is based on a novel 3D radiation imaging modality for special nuclear materials which was inspired by methods developed for fundamental nuclear physics experiments. The method has similarities with emission tomographic techniques used in medical imaging such as positron emission tomography. By localising nuclear materials with high precision inside shielded radioactive waste containers using their correlated emission of neutrons and gamma rays (i.e without the use of standard X-ray techniques), the innovative ARCTERIX approach aims to complement the state-of-the-art in passive and active NDA interrogation methods.
- Second prize (€30 000): QUANTOM by Framatome GmbH, Aachen Institute for Nuclear Training GmbH and Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis.
Authors have developed and tested the innovative drum inspection system QUANTOM® for non-destructive material characterization. The measuring system is based on the application of neutrons as probes. The possibility of analyzing waste drums non-destructively and without repackaging significantly avoids radiation exposure and secondary waste. The scientific work of the winners show that technology transfer from the nuclear sector can also produce innovative technology for other non-nuclear areas.
- Third prize (€20 00): ROBBE by RWE Nuclear GmbH and Fraunhofer IGD.
Awarded for the development of ROBBE, an autonomous and fully automatic cleaning and decoating solution using robotic, Ultra-High-Pressure (UHP) Water-Jetting on arbitrary components of variable shape or size originating from the dismantling process of nuclear power plants. ROBBE contributes to a sustainable quality of the cleaning process while reducing radiation exposure of operators and the amount of physically challenging manual work. ROBBE is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Nuclear Innovation Prize
The Nuclear Innovation Prize aims to stimulate the research community to strengthen innovation and foster an entrepreneurial culture in fission research. In 2021, the European Commission received 28 proposals that were evaluated by an independent jury composed of experts in technology transfer from business and academia. The jury assessed the proposals based on originality and replicability, technical excellence, and economic impact, exploitation of the innovation.
FISA 2022 – EURADWASTE ’22 Conferences
The 10th Euratom Conference on Reactor Safety (FISA) & 10th Euratom Conference on Radioactive Waste Management (EURADWASTE) are taking place this week (30 May to 3 June) at the Hôtel de Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Lyon, France. Co-organised by the European Commission, DG R&I and the CEA, the conferences are organised under the scope of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
These conferences are a great opportunity to present and learn about key achievements of almost 80 Euratom projects carried out since the previous conferences edition. As the European Commission has declared 2022, the European Year of Youth, young professionals have a unique opportunity to meet and network with leading researchers, innovators and industrial managers, from Europe and beyond.
Euratom Research and Training Programme
The Euratom Research and Training Programme (2021-2025) is the EU nuclear research and training programme with an emphasis on fusion and fission research, on the continuous improvement of nuclear safety, radioactive waste management and geological disposal, radiation protection, open access to infrastructures, education and training, and through international cooperation. It complements the achievement of Horizon Europe’s objectives including in the context of the energy transition as well as contributing to the implementation of the European fusion and fission roadmaps.
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