This action should involve a multidisciplinary research consortium able to tackle technical as well as economical and legal aspects, and should include EU-based RR fuel manufacturers alongside a fully representative number of EU RR operators. It will investigate future needs in terms of volume and fuel design requirements for each reactor for which European operators do not possess relevant data, as well as the safety-related technical requirements of RR fuel manufacturing, storage, transport, and reprocessing, and can include possible pilot scale experiments. It will also have to address the regulatory context and the legal and economic conditions for the long-term sustainability of EU-based RR fuel manufacturing and long-term supply of LEU (low-enriched uranium). This action should be undertaken considering inter alia the activities of the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from Euratom of between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Proposals for topics NFRP 10 and 11 will be ranked in a single ranking list.
The security of supply of nuclear fuel for research reactors (RR) is a key element in the availability of such reactors in the EU, which are essential for, notably, materials research, isotope production, silicon doping, nuclear science and engineering and related education and training purposes. It is thus imperative to recognise the needs and devise an appropriate European response in this area.
This action will help to secure the supply of nuclear fuel for research reactors in Europe. In doing so, this action will also reinforce the security of supply of medical radioisotopes like Molybdenum-99 and the availability, in the EU, of an adequate neutron irradiation capability for materials testing and other applications. This action will thus address key challenges related to both the energy and health sectors.