The BR2 Reactor: Short History, Characteristics and Utilization

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The BR2 reactor at the Belgian nuclear research Center, SCK•CEN (SCK•CEN is the acronym of the Dutch-French name “studiecentrum voor kernenergie—centre d’étude de l’énérgie nucléaire”) is one of the highest performing material test reactors available today. This article reviews the historic background of its construction and summarizes the operating characteristics and the utilization of the installation. Initially conceived to be a high performance and flexible test reactor, the reactor and the associated infrastructure and laboratories have fulfilled their mission, which varied significantly over time. Still active on the scene of nuclear fuel and material testing, the BR2 has also become today one of the major global suppliers of irradiation services for the production of radio-isotopes and neutron transmutation doped silicon. With a long term view, SCK•CEN supports the availability and safe operation of this infrastructure with a continuous investment and ageing management program, thus providing a long term availability of a large irradiation facility on site, with a current BR2 operating horizon up to 2036.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Nuclear Energy
Subtitle of host publicationReference Work 2021
EditorsEhud Greenspan
ChapterVolume 4
Number of pages9
EditionSection 11 - Research Reactors
ISBN (Print)9780128197325
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021

Publication series



  • BR2 reactor, Light water reactor fuel, Neutron irradiation, Structural material, Test reactor fuel, Transient testing

ID: 7220682