OECD/NEA ATLAS Phase 2 Joint Research Project Successfully Completed
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (President: Won-seok Park) successfully completed the OECD/NEA ATLAS Phase 2 Joint Research Project on November 5, 2020 with the last project review meeting, which was held via a video conference due to the current coronavirus pandemic. The OECD/NEA ATLAS Phase 2 Project is an international joint research project in the field of nuclear safety performed by the Nuclear Energy Agency under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
ATLAS, or Advanced Thermal-Hydraulic Test Loop for Accident Simulation, is a facility to test comprehensive thermal-hydraulic effects at a pressurized water reactor and it was designed and constructed by KAERI in 2007 with its own developed technology. ATLAS is the world’s third largest nuclear safety research facility that enables safe simulation of various accidents at the same temperature and pressure conditions as in an actual nuclear power plant using electrical heater rods instead of radioactive materials.
KAERI has led the international joint research project using ATLAS since 2014. Following the successful completion of the phase 1 project, KAERI operated the second phase project which was launched in 2017. The recent successful completion demonstrated its global leadership in the field of nuclear safety once again. Eighteen institutions from 11 countries, including Korea, United States, France, Germany, and China, participated in the second phase project for 39 months commencing in 2017. The total project cost amounted to EUR 3 million (approx. KRW 4 billion).
The project mainly involved activities for resolution of the pending safety issues for nuclear power plants currently in operation, verification and improvement of safety analysis codes performance, validation of new safety concepts such as passive safety systems, and verification of safety standards strengthened after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. Based on the consensus among the participating institutions that the joint research should be continued, KAERI is planning to once again lead the third phase project for four years from 2021.
Dr. Hyun Sik Park, Director of Innovative System Safety Research Division, said that “the second phase OECD/NEA ATLAS project has made significant contributions to enhancing the safety of the world’s nuclear power plants and strengthening technological competitiveness,” He also added that “this remarkable achievement well demonstrated KAERI’s efforts to step up cooperation with domestic and global entities and also the leading role of KAERI in the area of nuclear safety research.
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