History: from 1955 to the present

1955 - 1960:

  • 1955: Reactor Centre the Netherlands (RCN) founded.
  • 1956, 16 May: Contract between Reactor Centre the Netherlands (RCN) and American Car and Foundry Industries Incorporated (ACF) signed for delivery of the reactor.
  • 1956: Norway – RCN contract for nuclear energy collaboration.
  • 1958: Construction of the reactor.

1961 - 1970:

  • 1961, 26 July: Transfer of reactor to Euratom.
  • 1961, 9 November: HFR in operation for the first time.
  • 1961, 27 November: Building permit issued for construction of Hot Cell Laboratories.
  • 1964, 5 December: Commissioning of HCL with opening by HRH Prince Bernard.
    1965: Waste Storage Facility in use.

1971 - 1980:

  • 1976: RCN renamed Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN).

1981 - 1990:

  • 1984, July: Installation of a new, smaller, rectangular reactor vessel. This vessel makes more experiments possible and achieves greater power.
  • 1985, 14 February: Reactor is started up at 45 MW – the first start-up after the vessel replacement enters the history books as ‘Pelser night’.
  • 1985: Construction of BNCP and Sweep loop: this system is used for research into graphite, for example in fuel research for High Temperature Reactors.
  • 1985: Construction of TMS (tritium measurement system): this system is used in research into fusion.
  • 1985: Start of digital data processing.
  • 1986, May: Start with one of the beam tubes (HB-12) for astrophysics, the science that concerns the natural constitution of stars.

1991 - 2000:

  • 1996: start of production of MO-99 for nuclear medicine.
  • 1998: ECN incorporates its nuclear activities into NRG, which becomes the property of both ECN and KEMA.


2001 - 2010:

  • 2004: NRG initiates the PALLAS project. This involves the construction of a state-of-the-art nuclear reactor that is suitable for (medical) isotope production and the supply of diverse irradiation solutions. It is intended to replace the 50 year-old HFR in due course.
  • 2005, on 11 January: NRG received the licence from the European Commission.
  • 2006: The research reactor in Petten is completely switched over to Low-enriched uranium as fuel for the first time.
  • 2006: KEMA divests its share. NRG becomes a full subsidiary of ECN.
  • 2007, November: Commissioning of Jaap Goedkoop Laboratory for radiology.

2010 – present

  • 2013: The board decommissions the High Flux Reactor (HFR) for seven months to survey its technical condition.
  • 2013, 15 November: To prevent unplanned failure of its nuclear facilities, NRG again puts all its facilities and related processes into a temporary and safe standby mode.
  • 2014, February: All nuclear facilities (the High Flux Reactor, the Decontamination & Waste Treatment facility, the Jaap Goedkoop Laboratory, the Hot Cell Laboratories and the Molybdenum Production Facility) are put back into operation.
  • 2014, 17 October: ECN/NRG sign a credit agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs for a maximum of 82 million euros.