After a common expression of willingness to cooperate and legal establishment of V4G4 Centre of Excellence Association, VINCO project represents the next stage of capacity building in nuclear technologies in Central European countries. Participating countries defined already their specializations: helium technology in Czech Republic, design and safety analyses in Slovakia, fuel studies in Hungary and material research in Poland. Having such expertise, the joint development of Gen IV nuclear technologies with the special emphasis on gas-cooled reactors is fully possible.
Thus, the main objectives of the regional VINCO project are: (i) development of the principles of cooperation and rules of access to existing and planned infrastructure, (ii) identification of the specific objectives of the R&D activities in the cooperating countries, (iii) description and analysis of the existing research, training and educational equipment and capabilities, (iv) determination of the investment priorities in cooperating countries and (v) setting up of joint research, educational and training projects. It is expected that the joint activities will result in coordination of actions allowing to obtain financing from the Structural Funds available for the Visegrad countries. These funds would allow for a huge increase of mass and modernization of the research potential in the region.
Close cooperation with other EU institutions (mainly CEA, France) will ensure better description of the investments needed in Visegrad Region, tightening of pan-European cooperation and strengthening of the role of V4 countries, helping them to evolve from users to the suppliers of R&D capabilities in nuclear technologies. A major expected impact of the project would be setting up of a distributed regional research centre specialized in nuclear technologies needed to develop Gen IV reactors and to improve safe operation of existing and planned Nuclear Power Plants in the region.
Why Fast Reactors?
Fast reactors are the key technology for the sustainability of nuclear fission energy:
- More efficient use of fuel, no more problem of resources thanks to breeding, which multiply by a factor of about 50 the energy production from a given amount of uranium fuel, offering resources to several thousand years
- Minimization of the volume of radioactive waste.
- Reduction of the radiotoxicity of radioactive waste to that of the uranium ore in about 4 centuries, compared to 100 000 years with the current nuclear reactors.
Why Gas coolant for Fast Reactors?
The Gas Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR) is one of the six promising technologies selected by the Generation IV international Forum (GIF).
The use of gas (for exemple He) as coolant:
- Allows high temperature operation offering higher thermal efficiency and new opportunities for industry applications.
- Chemically inert, which eliminates the safety risk of interaction with air and water (Sodium).
- Avoid the boiling risk
- Elimination of corrosion and coolant radiotoxicity problems associated with heavy liquid metal reactors (Lead-Bismuth and pure Lead)
What is ALLEGRO?
ALLEGRO is the project of low power helium cooled experimental reactor to develop:
- Robust fuels for GFRs (carbide fuels).
- The helium technology (components, instrumentation,…)
- The safety systems mainly related to the decay heat removal function
- The safety standards (requirements, criteria, guidelines).