Assessment of innovative reactor designs in PSI
Between the years 2015 and 2019, PSI coordinated a project investigating the pebble bed high temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) reactor aside with molten salt reactor (MSR) concepts and the use of thorium fuel. The project involved different groups from the ETH domain and the main purpose is to build-up the specific know-how in Switzerland that is necessary to provide in-depth information to decision makers and identify research needs for the future. Several key aspects of both HTGR and MSR reactors were addressed in this research project. These include economic and accident phenomenology studies of the HTGR, fuel cycle optimization of both MSR and HTGR, as well as a study on waste volume reduction of the pebble bed reactors.
Reconstruction of the Fukushima nuclear accident
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are currently involved in an international project aimed at reconstructing what happened to the reactor units during the nuclear accident at the Japanese nuclear power station, Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011. In particular, the estimate of the core end-state will help the owner of the damaged plant, the Tokyo Electricity Power Company (TEPCO) to plan the removal of components from the reactor containment and the final decontamination. Besides, the exercise is intended to contribute to further refinement of the computer programs used to perform nuclear accident simulations
Retention of radioactive iodine in serious NPP accidents
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute [PSI] have developed a highly efficient technique for filtering radioactive iodine. It removes virtually all of the iodine from radioactively contaminated exhaust air before its release into the environment after a meltdown at a damaged nuclear power plant. The process has recently become ready for worldwide use at nuclear power installations, after PSI and the industrial company CCI AG (Balterswil/TG) have signed a licensing agreement for the PSI patented process.