High Flux Reactor back in operation


Update Wednesday 31th of October 2018

Last week on Thursday 0.9 cubic metres of water with radioactive contamination (including tritium) was released into the basement of the pump building next to the High Flux Reactor, and has run into the ground beneath the building. The reactor was shut down and the regulator ANVS informed. It concerned a malfunctioning valve used to close off pipe work in the pump building. NRG immediately repaired the leak in the pipework, took the valve out of service, and took measures to prevent reoccurrence. Subsequent measures have been agreed with the regulator, including a plan for ground remediation. The investigation into the events leading up to the incident has begun, but is not yet completed.

NRG has provided further clarification on the measures already taken this morning, and on this basis the regulator has judged that the reactor can be safely restarted. This afternoon NRG has restarted the reactor following normal protocol. Employees have been informed about the actual status. Nearby residents will also receive further information from us about what the leakage means for the nearby residents.

Because the reactors of four of the six large producers of medical isotopes worldwide are currently out of operation, a global shortage of these products threatens. Cancer patients, and also for instance people with a thyroid disorder, are dependent on the isotopes that are made in Petten for their treatment. Now the reactor has been restarted, the first deliveries of molybdenum can be expected in a week. In a week and a half we expect to be back at normal production levels.

Update Monday 29th of October 2018

Last Thursday 0.9 cubic metres of water with radioactive contamination (including tritium) was released into the basement of the pump building next to the High Flux Reactor, and has run into the ground beneath the building. Since this moment the reactor has been shut down.

Immediate measures have been taken to prevent further release, including repair of the pipe work concerned. Further than this there are no limiting circumstances with respect to activities and the presence of employees and visitors on our site in Petten. As a consequence of the reactor shut down NRG cannot supply isotopes for medical applications at this moment.

In all our company operations it has the highest priority to prevent damage to people or the environment. NRG deplores this unforeseen event, which occurred during planned works. NRG has discussed this event with our regulator, the ANVS, including the progress of the investigation and the measures taken.

NRG has discussed a plan for the safe restart of the reactor with the ANVS. We expect a reaction this coming Wednesday, when we can give more certainty about the next steps.