Expertise, centralised models and parametric tools have been key to guaranteeing the highest levels of safety in designs for a new medical isotopes and research reactor in the Netherlands.

The existing high flux reactor in Petten plays a vital role in health services across the world. Every day more than 30,000 patients benefit from the use of its medical isotopes for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. In Europe, up to 70% of all medical isotopes originate from the reactor.

However, the high flux reactor in Petten, which has been in service for nearly 60 years, is reaching the end of its economic life span. To guarantee long-term reliable supply of these crucial isotopes, a new reactor is being planned and will replace the existing facility from 2025.

Specialist calculations ensure safety in extreme scenarios

The new PALLAS reactor is a once-in-a-lifetime project involving a wide range of construction partners working with stakeholders including medical institutions, local residents and government bodies. The ICHOS consortium consisting of INVAP (Argentinian nuclear equipment supplier) and TBI (Mobilis and Croonwolter&dros) has been awarded design and realisation of the PALLAS reactor.

TBI is supported by Royal HaskoningDHV in the design development. TBI and Royal HaskoningDHV are working in an integrated team, providing expert services on different expertise.

Safety is a critical feature of the structure. Experts applied complex geometric calculations and specialist software to analyse the impact of extreme scenarios. The information enabled effective reinforcement measures to be incorporated into the design and foundations. They ensure safety is guaranteed in the event of disasters including blast, aircraft impact, earthquake, tsunami and extreme flooding.

Integrated multi-disciplinary team and digital tools invaluable

A special feature of the design approach was the use of parametric methods which facilitated interoperability between the different software packages. It meant any changes to input data would be automatically reflected in output calculations. This was a quicker and more precise working method, which avoided the possibility of small differences between various models. The integrated multi-disciplinary team and efficient application of digital tools have been invaluable for the success of this project.

With the initial design stage complete, the project will be moving to the next phase. PALLAS is expecting to start with activities to produce medical isotopes and also (medical) nuclear research by the end of 2025.

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