TOURR Project Logo

Towards Optimized Use of
Research Reactors in Europe

About the project

Nuclear research reactors (RRs) have been constructed in countries implementing nuclear power plants and used in experiments finalised to develop commercial reactors and training programmes.

Neutron irradiations have found new applications in the adaptation and production of existing and new materials, including medical radioisotopes. The latter enabled the development of new diagnosis and treatment techniques, for the benefit of millions of patients.

Europe has a broad and very diverse landscape of RRs, many of them in operation since 30-50 years, well maintained and regularly upgraded. Yet financial pressure, caused by the combination of declining interest, and the absence of a sound financial model, led to closure of many of them and a few others will close soon. There is only one RR under construction in Europe at the moment, the Jules Horowitz Reactor.

Those negative trends call for a coordinated European action to assess the impact of the decreasing number of RRs, identify future needs (including new neutron sources), draw a roadmap for upgrade of the existing RRs fleet, and a model for harmonized resource management. The TOURR project is a response to this challenge.

The project primary objective is to develop a strategy for RRs in Europe and prepare the ground for its implementation.

This strategic goal can be divided into specific objectives:

  • Assessment of the current status of European RRs fleet, including plans for upgrade;
  • Evaluation of urgent needs;
  • Developing tools for optimal use of RRs fleet,
  • Rising awareness among decision makers on the (future) role of RRs.

The ambition of the TOURR project is to secure access and availability of RRs as a vital part of the European Research Area and to support a stable supply of medical radioisotopes.