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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand in hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. MYRRHA contributes actively to the implementation of several UN sustainable development targets.
MYRRHA’s Proton Target Facility will be instrumental in the research, development and production of radioisotopes that are used in cancer diagnosis and therapy. These radioisotopes will enable oncologists and radiologists to better localise tumours via PET-scans, enabling improved diagnosis and radiation therapy. In addition, MYRRHA will produce radioisotopes in higher quantities and quality, including radioisotopes of the new generation that will reduce patient side-effects.
In a recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reviewed a large number of scientific models that aim at reducing climate change to 1.5 to 2 ºC. The IPCC confirmed that most of these models attribute a significant role to nuclear energy as a low carbon emission electricity generating process. MYRRHA contributes to research into the main challenge of nuclear energy: what to do with nuclear waste. Effective reprocessing will allow to recycle most of the spent nuclear fuel into mixed oxide fuel or MOX. However, reprocessing does not address the issue of heat emitting, long-lived elements that would have to be stored underground in stable formations for hundreds of thousands of years. MYRRHA’s unique characteristics as an accelerator driven, sub-critical and lead-bismuth eutectic cooled reactor will enable ground-breaking research into transforming these minor actinides into different elements that need only be disposed for a few hundreds of years for them to return to their natural radiotoxicity level. This transmutation technology is widely expected to clear the
major hurdle of nuclear waste management and create partnerships that will reduce carbon emissions, deliver affordable energy to developed and deprived communities allowing them to innovate and to drive economic growth.