KAERI completes upgrade of Bangladeshi research reactor

11 July 2024

Work to commission the modernised instrumentation and control system of the Bangladesh Training Research Reactor has been completed, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced.

The control room for the BTRR (Image: KAERI)

KAERI said the project marks the first bilateral cooperation in the nuclear industry between two countries, which have worked together since 2021.

In July 2021, KAERI won a contract worth about USD3.9 million from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) for the modernisation of its Bangladesh Training Research Reactor (BTRR). The project involved the development and replacement of key facilities at BTRR, including the delivery of digital instrumentation and control systems to replace its analog systems.

The 3 MW TRIGA Mark-II research reactor achieved its first criticality on 14 September 1986. The reactor has been used for manpower training, radioisotope production (iodine-131), and various R&D activities in the field of neutron activation analysis, neutron radiography and neutron scattering.

"The BTRR project has been the cornerstone to the nuclear cooperation between Korea and Bangladesh, and now we expect today's accomplishment will help further advancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy and technologies in the country," said KAERI Executive Vice President In-Cheol Lim.

In May 2022, KAERI signed a memorandum of understanding with BAEC for technological cooperation in nuclear research and development. Under the MoU, the main areas for cooperation include the development, utilisation and upgrade of research reactors, the production and application of radioisotopes, development of radiation technology, neutron science and the management of radioactive wastes.

KAERI has also been active in promoting the development and use of research reactors globally. In 2009, a KAERI-led consortium won the construction project of the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR), Korea's first nuclear reactor export. From planning and engineering to start up test, KAERI played a leading role in the successful completion of the project.

In June this year, the KAERI-led consortium also finished the capacity upgrade of a research reactor and installation of a cold neutron source at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The so-called OYSTER (Optimised Yield - for Science, Technology & Education - of Radiation) project started in 2014 and marked Korea's first export of nuclear reactor technology to Europe. Previously, KAERI was also involved in upgrade and refurbishment of research reactor in Greece, Thailand and Malaysia.

Building upon the years-long experience and expertise, KAERI is also collaborating with US partners in ensuring proliferation resistance of research reactors, especially in emerging countries. Earlier this year, the Korean government signed an MoU with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the Proliferation Resistance Optimization (Pro-X) Programme. Under the cooperation framework aiming at integration of proliferation resistance into nuclear reactor design, KAERI will work closely with NNSA to optimise the institute's export-oriented reactor designs, contributing to strengthening the non-proliferation regime in the field of research reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News