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Update MINERVA/MYRRHA: 1st license is a fact

12 December '22

Getting closer to the construction of MYRRHA's particle accelerator

In September 2022, we established the zero point of the MINERVA plant on our site. In November, we prepared the site for construction works. And now, on Friday 9 December, we received formal approval from the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) to effectively build the installation. This brings the start of MINERVA - the 1st phase of the MYRRHA programme - closer than ever before.


The nuclear license by FANC

The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) in Belgium is responsible for ensuring that the population, workers and the environment are effectively protected against the impact of ionizing radiation. It was by end 2021, that the licensing application has been submitted by SCK CEN. Since then two rounds of final negotiations with FANC and NIRAS and the public consultation passed successfully.

Friday 9 December 2022 will go down in the history books as the day FANC issued formal approval. Thus, the actual construction works may begin. During the further phases of the construction, followed by the facility commissioning and transfer to operation, FANC will further oversee the implementation following pre-defined witness and hold points.


Present activities of site preparation

As part of the preparations for MINERVA, the company GEOSONDA conducted ground probes, and existing cables, pipework and the temporary structures were removed to make the subsoil safe for future (excavation) work. The zero point has been localised, a panel marks the exact Zero Point.

The Zero Point is not only the physical zero point of the installation, it also symbolises the transition from the design to the implementation phase. Not only does the zero point look attractive on a panel, it also remains relevant throughout the implementation phase. In fact, the accelerator requires a highly accurate alignment of components.

Next steps?

The site preparations will continue for another couple of months, as is the license application to the province of Antwerp, which we plan to submit in early 2023. The construction of the accelerator is continuing in parallel.

We continue the works with our partners where we have just celebrated the 1st scientific milestone: the production of the first SRF cavity of MYRRHA’s ADS.

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