Going the extra mile

Pioneering. The passion of pioneering is a key element of our research centre’s DNA. Our research is not limited by the boundaries of what we know. We explore. We sound out the frontiers of knowledge. We have the guts to challenge ourselves and conquer unknown territories. We continue to move up a gear.

We always go the extra mile. An extra mile in our preparations, operations and finishing. Always considering both man and environment. I kindly invite you to browse through this annual report and to join us in going the extra mile.

Eric van Walle,

Director General


Going the extra mile

Green light for MYRRHA

An extra mile in our preparations. Take, for instance, the unique research infrastructure MYRRHA. In 2018, the Belgian government gave the green light for its construction. This decision was taken thanks to the detailed preparation of our employees, who in the previous year had submitted a comprehensive MYRRHA file to the government. In the meantime, we continued our operations full speed. The particle accelerator, which will feed the research reactor, has grown several metres.

The lead-bismuth cooling agent was subjected to various simulation tests. The first results of this large-scale experiment came in 2018: cooling remains warranted.

Government decisionParticle acceleratorCooling

Bringing knowledge to life

The same dedication resulted in a breakthrough in the RECUMO file. The RECUMO project offers our research centre a structural solution for the management of highly radioactive residues from the production of medical radio-isotopes, which are now being stored on the site of the National Institute for Radio Elements in Fleurus. Also the spent fuel generated by nuclear reactors became a focus point in 2018. How will this spent fuel react when being stored directly underground?

Will we be able to separate the radionuclides in fractions so as to enable a more targeted and efficient management? We also used our knowledge to the benefit of others: by performing materials research for France and by making young people familiar with nuclear science in a playful way.

RECUMOStorageMaterials researchYoung people

“We must keep investing in order to preserve and deepen our nuclear knowledge. This knowledge is useful to manage nuclear waste safely, dismantle nuclear power plants and ensure the production of radioisotopes.”

Sven van den Berghe

Institute Director Nuclear Materials Sciences


Holding back cancer

An extra mile in our operations. We proverbially hit the brakes to put a stop to cancer. On the one hand by expanding our production with two new medical radio-isotopes, on the other hand by setting up NURA. With NURA – a nuclear medical centre of excellence – we will perform research for clinical and industrial partners into radiopharmaceuticals for treating different types of cancer.

Next to performing research, we also have the ambition to become a stable supplier of therapeutic isotopes. By doing all this internally, we can warrant the superior quality of the development track.


A heart for both man and environment

An extra mile in our finishing. In 2018, we also put on a final sprint towards the finishing line of several challenging projects. We completed the EME building – with its high-tech equipment and brand new emergency planning room. Two difficult dismantling projects were brought to a successful conclusion. An exploratory literature study identified duckweed as a suitable candidate to filter radionuclides from contaminated water. Now, it’s time to test this result against reality and start experimenting with this amazing plant.

Speaking about greenery: by signing the green deal ‘Businesses and biodiversity”, we show our commitment towards a more eco-friendly management of our domain. A win-win situation for nature and our employees.

EME buildingDuckweedDismantlingGreen deal

“In 2018, the achievement level – financial growth chart – reached a better result than ever before. To carry on this growth, planning remains an important focus.”

Kathleen Overmeer

Institute Director General Services and Administration


Key Figures

Income 2018 (in %)


Subsidies from government, grants


Financial income

Extraordinary income


Personnel costs

Purchases, services






PHD Students




Scientific publications & Presentations




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