Contractor selected for Pallas reactor

07 December 2023

Following a tender procedure, Spanish construction firm FCC Construcción (FCC) has been contracted to build the Pallas research reactor at the Energy & Health Campus in Petten, the Netherlands.

(Image: NRG-Pallas)

In January 2023, NRG-Pallas launched a tender procedure for the construction of the Pallas reactor and surrounding buildings under EU public procurement rules. Three pre-qualified candidates were selected to submit offers. The offer from FCC was evaluated as "the most economically advantageous tender", NRG-Pallas said.

"With FCC we have found a partner to construct the new Pallas reactor," said Pallas Programme Director Peter Dijk. "The construction of the Pallas reactor is a unique and complex project, for which collaboration is key. We are convinced that we have found a competent partner in FCC."

"This is an important step to realise the Pallas reactor," said NRG-Pallas CEO Bertholt Leeftink. "The new reactor is in the interest of security of supply of medical isotopes for patients worldwide and important for maintaining the Dutch nuclear knowledge infrastructure."

"For FCC Construcción, participation in the Pallas project is undoubtedly an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate our experience and capacity in designing and executing industrial infrastructures, which have a high degree of specialization, innovation and technology," added FCC Director of Western Europe
Yago Mijangos.

The Pallas research reactor is to be built at Petten to replace the existing High Flux Reactor (HFR). The 45 MW HFR started operating in September 1960, since when its use has largely been shifted from nuclear materials testing to fundamental research and the production of medical radioisotopes. The reactor - operated by NRG on behalf of the European Union's Joint Research Centre - has for a long time supplied about 60% of Europe's and 30% of the world's use of medical radioactive sources.

Pallas will be of the "tank-in-pool" type, with a thermal power of around 55 MW, and able to deploy its neutron flux more efficiently and effectively than the HFR.

In May this year, work began on the foundations after the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection granted a construction licence for the reactor in February.

In September, Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Ernst Kuipers confirmed full funding has been allocated for the EUR1.68 billion (USD1.79 billion) estimated public investment required for the Pallas reactor.

Construction of the reactor will be able to go ahead if the Dutch parliament does not object to the creation of a new state-owned company and if the European Commission approves the public investment.

"The coming period will be used for all the preparations necessary for the start of the Pallas reactor construction," NRG-Pallas said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News