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FNCA 2021 Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization Project

Report of
FNCA 2021 Online Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization Project

November 24-25, 2021



FY2021 FNCA Online Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) project was held from November 24-25, 2021. This Workshop was hosted by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan.
The Workshop was attended by 32 participants from 11 FNCA member countries, namely Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, including workshop staffs.

Photo of Plenary Session

In the plenary session, the welcome remarks by Mr. Funabiki Takahisa, MEXT, and the opening remarks by Mr. Wada Tomoaki, FNCA Coordinator of Japan, were delivered. The individual project leaders of Japan, Dr. Ohtsuki Tsutomu and Dr. Ebihara Mitsuru, overviewed the current projects of RRU and Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) and referred to several major issues of the workshop.

Photo of Parallel Session (NAA)
  Photo of Parallel Session (RRU)

Then, in the parallel sessions of RRU, the isotope production including new isotopes and QA/QC and/or new research reactor were presented sequentially by individual participating countries. In the NAA sessions, each country presented the progress on the environmental monitoring with multiple measurement techniques including NAA, then discussed a number of topics. The detailed contents were summarized in each of the two groups, RRU and NAA.


Summary of
FNCA 2021 Online Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization Project

November 24-25, 2021


Preface

Considering the difficulty in executing the workshop in line with COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to hold the online workshop on the Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) project in 2021. Firstly, several major issues of the workshop were presented. The current status of radioisotopes (RIs) production and new research reactor (for RRU group) /environmental monitoring for Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA group) in each country were summarized and the information for our activities was shared in this online workshop. In the plenary session, an overview of the current projects of RRU and NAA was provided by the individual project leaders of Japan. In the parallel sessions, the detailed content of the discussions was summarized for each of the two groups, RRU and NAA. Finally, we shared each summary in the wrap up session.

Parallel session

For the preparation of country reports, the Japanese project leaders asked participants to include the following topics in their presentations:

1) The current progress and results for FNCA activities
2) Any difficulties nowadays
3) Impact of the pandemic on R&D activities (working condition, facilities usage status, additional special work, etc.)

RRU-1: Country Report
1) Isotope production including new isotopes
Australia

Production and supply of radiopharmaceuticals to domestic market continued as normal during the pandemic period. However, export to overseas interrupted due to the reduced commercial flights and closure of border. Pandemic-related issues has reduced significantly allowing R&D activities to return to normal. Australia's multipurpose OPAL reactor relatively new and reached criticality in August 2006. Australia commissioned a new facility dedicated for 99Mo production on early 2019. The 99Mo production involved with irradiation of LEU target and the separation process uses mainly ion-exchange separation. The final product 99Mo is tested against British Pharmacopoeia monograph prior to release. 

Bangladesh
Radioisotope Production Division (RIPD) of Bangladesh is supplying 99Mo/99mTc generators and 131I oral solution to various government and private run Nuclear Medicine Centers (NMCs) on a weekly basis and satisfying the demand of these two medically important radioisotopes of the country. Along with that our research group is trying to produce new RIs utilizing our research reactor. Due to worst pandemic situation in the last year, we delayed finishing the previous R&D project of producing 89Sr for cancer treatment. Subsequently we have updated our research proposal for the coming year to produce new radioisotope, such as 153Sm. Following IAEA Tec-Doc 1340 Manual for Reactor Produced Radioisotopes, we have planned to use Sm2O3 as Target Material for producing 153Sm by 152Sm(n, γ)153Sm nuclear reaction. The completion of the research project including QA/QC is expected to be finished within 2023.

China
Although effected by the coronavirus pandemic, nuclear facilities had been put into operation according to the annual plan including research reactors, such as Swimming Pool Research Reactor (SPRR) and China Advanced Research Reactor (CARR) in recent years. The CARR will enhance the operational capacity. During the next five-year plan, CARR will develop high demand commonly used radioisotopes in China such as 99Mo, 125I, 131I, 32P, 192Ir, 89Sr, 166Ho, 188W, 63Ni, 14C with high purity. CARR will play an important role not only in radioisotope development and production, but also in scientific and technical research. It is hoped to enhance intra-regional cooperation in the development of new isotope technologies and scientific research through the research reactor platform.

Indonesia
G.A. Siwabessy reactor is a multipurpose reactor. It is used for radioisotope production, research, education, training, topaz colorization, material analysis, radiography and nuclear fuel element development. Some radioisotope research activities are carried out using the reactor including development of 99Mo/99mTc generator using neutron-activated Molybdenum-98 and development of 177Lu based radiopharmaceuticals using enriched Lutetium-176. Some radionuclides are produced using the G.A. Siwabessy reactor including 153Sm using Sm2O3 for 153Sm-EDTMP production and 131I using natural TeO2 for 131I-MIBG production.

Japan
The operation of JRR-3 under the new regulatory requirement has been finally permitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. JRR-3 resumed operation on February 26, 2021. This year general user program started on July 12. JRR-3 completed the scheduled operation (95 days). At the JRR-3 we produce 198Au and 192Ir using (n,γ) reaction for use in brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). Domestic production resumed immediately after the resumption of service operation. Next year, JRR-3 is planned to operate in 170 days from May to December 2022. We are planning to produce 225Ac and 99Mo using the Accelerators.

Kazakhstan
In 2021, Kazakhstan continued the production of radioisotopes for medicine and industry using the WWR-K reactor. The production of 131I for the domestic market of Kazakhstan has started. 198Au was not produced for foreign markets. 99Mo and 192Ir were produced for the domestic market.

Malaysia
The Malaysian Nuclear Agency continues to support the utilization of the research reactor. The current research reactor is 1MW and has been operating for more than 35 years. The maximum neutron flux is 1 x 1013 cm-2.s-1. The reactor operates four days per week and around 8 hours per day. In some circumstances, the reactor may prolong its operation to cater for medical and industrial radioisotopes such as 153Sm -EDTMP, 177Lu Cl3, 51Cr-EDTA, 166Ho and 82Br. The reactor also has been used for neutron activation analysis, beam research, and education & training. A new research reactor program is planning to have more capability and frontier research in nuclear technology. A feasibility study will be performed from next year onwards to make a strong justification to the Government.

Vietnam
Dalat Nuclear Research Reactor (DNRR) is routinely utilized to produce radioisotopes for medical uses (131I, 99Mo/99mTc, 32P). Supply of radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals to 40 nuclear medicine departments in the country. The operating time of the reactor is changed to continuously 100 hours/week instead of previous schedule of 100 hours/month. This will enhance the production of radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals to meet 80% of the demand. The domestic market for 131I and 32P is produced at DNRR, but 99Mo/99mTc generator is imported from overseas. During 2021, the production of radioisotopes, radiopharmaceuticals, in-vivo kit has been completed as per GMP standards. In 2021, three research projects on the preparation of radioisotope and radiopharmaceuticals have been completed.

2) New Research Reactor
Mongolia

The Research Reactor (RR) project for Mongolia had been discussed internally for several years. Utilization of RR, the design study and fuel comparison analyses were conducted. Initial discussions were made with ROSATOM for project development agreement (PDA) and non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The proposed RR is to be utilized for Radioisotope (RI) production (99Mo/99mTc by neutron activation method), Human Resource Development, Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), education and training, nuclear physics and other commercial services. Currently all medical radioisotopes are imported from other countries such as Korea, China and Germany. 500 mCi of 99mTc generators are being imported from Korea for every two weeks.

Philippines
Philippine Research Reactor (PRR-1) will be re-operated as the TRIGA-fuelled Sub-critical Assembly for Training, Education and Research (SATER) facility. It is being established as a training and education facility with demonstration capabilities for R&D and small-scale nuclear services. The construction of PRR-1 SATER is ongoing, and although pandemic constraints resulted in some delays, the facility is expected to be commissioned by June 2022.

Thailand
Thailand embarked a new research reactor project from 2017. A major undertaking required strategic planning, stakeholder interests, feasibility study, site evaluation, financial investment and human resources. It requires attention to nuclear safety, nuclear safeguards, nuclear security, control and accounting of nuclear materials, waste management and decommissioning. FNCA will promote to carry out cooperation with Thailand on specific subjects in the development and implementation of the supporting infrastructure. The new reactor will be built as a 'national prestige' project with a clear understanding of its intended uses or justified need to avoid future underutilization issues.

RRU-2: New Research Reactor
Lead Speech: Overview of SMR development in China (China)
The development of SMR in China is mainly reflected in the following aspects:(1) exploring the fourth generation of nuclear power systems, such as high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, Molten salt fast reactor, etc. (2) Exploring multiple uses other than electricity, such as District heating, desalination, Hydrogen production, etc. (3) scheduled to be finished in time. Designs of SMR are designed for a variety of market needs in addition to power generation, such as district heating, desalination, hydrogen production or thermal production for industrial processes. In addition, in order to meet the demand of carbon emission reduction, the government encourages enterprises to compete and develop new industries through innovation. SMR is promising to be a necessary part of China's energy structure.

Lead Speech: Current Status of New Research Reactor at the Monju Site (Japan)
In September 2020, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) selected a medium-power reactor of less than 10,000 kW, whose main purpose is to use neutron beams, as the reactor type of the new research reactor at Monju Site. As a project commissioned by MEXT, conceptual design and consideration of utilization operation of this research reactor were started, and JAEA, Kyoto University and University of Fukui were adopted as the core organizations of the commissioned project in November 2020. Currently, conceptual design, geological survey, and examination of utilization management are being conducted. Until the end of FY2022, the conceptual design will be carried out while reflecting the opinions from the consortium established regarding the Monju Site research reactor, and the detailed design is scheduled to start within FY2022.

NAA-1: Country Report
Australia

An ambitious program of measurement of suspended particulate matter was undertaken in collaboration with ANSTO's Centre for Accelerator Science and a commercial client. This was the first time both ion beam analysis and neutron activation analysis done together at ANSTO on such a scale. So far promising results are emerging and further development would improve workflows and results. The year presented multiple challenges, ranging from planned and unplanned reactor outages to restrictions imposed in response to the global pandemic, limiting the ability to complete work, but nevertheless much was achieved even with these constraints.

Bangladesh
During the reported time, research and development activities related to analysis of soil and sediment samples were done by INAA technique. Environmental radioactivity monitoring of geological samples was continued at the time of lock down and temporary shutdown of the reactor for the installation of power substation. Nine papers were published and most of the papers are directly related to the project activities.

China
We have sampled many air particulate material samples in Beijing in this year. These samples had been analyzed by NAA and PIXE. Some PM2.5 reference materials were analyzed by using NAA. NAA is a very important analytical method in atmosphere management in China. Many kinds of samples have been analyzed by NAA in this year. In 2022, PM2.5 and PM10 samples in Beijing will be collected and analyzed by NAA.

Indonesia
Two important parameters of a boron ratio and advantage factor for epithermal neutron INAA (EINAA) have been evaluated. Profile of trace elements Iodine on foodstuffs in three stunting prevalence provinces has been carried out using EINAA. At the same time, preliminary studies on the characteristics of particulate matter have been carried out using a Dual Channel Ambient Fine Dust Sampler.

Japan
The determination of boron, silicon, and hydrogen in solid sample was performed by prompt gamma ray analysis system at Japan atomic Energy Agency research reactor JRR-3. The analytical results of boron in silicon carbide certified reference material and silicon in silicon nitride certified reference material were in good agreement with their certified values. In addition, upper limit of mass fraction of hydrogen in high purity metallic zinc could be measured.

Kazakhstan
Due to the temporary shutdown of the IVG.1M research reactor in connection with its transfer to low-enriched fuel, the planned volume of investigations by NAA was substantially reduced. The plans for 2022 are traditionally connected with the development of NAA methodology for the needs of geological and adjacent sciences. We plan to master the comparative NAA semi-absolute method k0-INAA.

Malaysia
In the current phase starting in 2021, Malaysia will continue to analyze soil samples collected in industrial areas or industrial parks to determine the heavy metals, U, Th, and rare earth elements (REEs) and identify the sources of pollution. Under movement control order (MCO), the accessibility of the facilities and equipment are limited. The research activities related to the sampling of soil samples are affected due to pandemics. The sampling of soil samples needs to be rescheduled. However, we managed to sampling of the soil samples in the middle of September 2021.

Mongolia
Our planned NAA researches are postponed to next year because of COVID19 pandemic. During lockdown, we have sampled few samples in Ulaanbaatar in this year, and samples analysis were delayed. In 2022, PM2.5 and PM10 samples will be collected in Ulaanbaatar and analyzed by NAA, XRF and SEM. Next 2 years, we will continue to implement an IAEA TC project for establishing of sub-critical assembly (neutron source) in Mongolia.

Philippines
For most of this year, the implementation of projects has been limited. Environmental samples such as soil, marine and river sediments will be available later this year. These samples will be analyzed in collaboration with Vietnam. With INAA data, it will be expected that the data obtained by other analytical techniques such as XRF will be evaluated and corrected when any inconsistency among data is observed.

Thailand
Element concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, soil and crop samples collected from suburban area Phathumthani Privince determined by PIXE and h-XRF were reported. The pandemic resulted in delays of the elemental analysis of PM2.5 and PM10 using INAA.

Vietnam
In 2021, the MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) projects of Characterizing of archaeological and marine sediment samples for determining the provenance in the archaeological site and for studying coastal erosion by k0-INAA method have been implemented. REEs, U and Th were determined also by ICP-MS. The obtained results indicated that REEs are the source-specific and key marker elements and can be used for the grouping the source materials.

Wrap up session

Conclusions
The RRU project has quite broad topics and therefore it was agreed to focus on one and/or two specific topics in the current phase (2021-2023) for better outcomes and improvements in knowledge.
The RRU project includes the following topics:

a. Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA)
b. Isotope Production including new isotopes
c. Neutron Scattering
d. BNCT, NR
e. Material Research
f. New Research Reactor
g. Human Resource Development and so on.

RRU Group
The specific topics in the nuclear science field were considered in the workshop of phase 2 (2021-2023) according to a questionnaire to each member country. In this year, possible topics were picked up. 1) Radioisotopes production (RIs) including new RIs and their separation and/or purification, further quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) for their practical use, if any. 2) New research reactor, if any, a future plan in small modular reactor (SMR) and/or floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) can be listed. Several plans for new reactor were reported from the plural countries in the workshop.

NAA Group
Future workplan already discussed last year, namely "NAA group agreed to adopt environmental samples as target" is still valid and no need to change. Environmental samples cover not only "common" samples like air or soils but also others related to the environment including ore or even food samples. Countries which do not have access to a reactor for NAA can use an alternative method such as XRF/PIXE/ICP-MS. Where possible, comparison of NAA to other methods would be interesting. Conclusion which was previously shown is not proposed to change.
Lastly, two remarks were expressed;
Sutisna - this will be his last workshop as he will be retiring in Feb, will have a colleague attend in the future. Ebihara expressed thanks and admiration of his participation.
Ebihara - requests list of publications related to FNCA activities for next coordinators meeting report (Jun or Jul 2022).

Member countries are proposing the following for the current work cycle:

Country

Type of Samples

Method

Target Elements

Australia

SPM in filters

NAA, compared to IBA

All measurable

Bangladesh

Soil & sediment, also foods

NAA if reactor available, else natural radioactivity

As many as possible

China

Meteorite, archaeological

NAA, possibly PGAA and PIXE

As many as possible

Indonesia

Microminerals on marine product

ENAA

Th, U, pollutants

Japan

Geological & chemical samples, possibly meteorite

RNAA, PGAA

Halogens (Cl, Br, I)

Kazakhstan

Geological/sands

k0-NAA

Malaysia

Soil (industrial areas)

NAA

Heavy metals, trace and REE

Mongolia

Biomonitors (lichen etc), food samples

NAA, XRF

Philippines

Marine sediments, soil, maybe air particulate

NAA (Vietnam), maybe ICP-OES, XRF

Thailand

PM2.5, PM10, mining samples

PIXE, ICP-MS, compared to NAA

Vietnam

Soil (erosion studies), archaeological

NAA/cyclic

 


Program of
FNCA 2021 Online Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization Project

November 24-25, 2021



Host Organization: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT)
Executing Institution: Nuclear Safety Research Association (NSRA)
Date: November 24-25, 2021
   
[Country report topics in this workshop]
RRU -  Isotope production including new isotopes, QA/QC (such as chemical separation process, purification process, etc.)
New Research Reactor
*  Any topics above can be chosen according to your country circumstances.
NAA -  Environmental monitoring with multiple measurement techniques including NAA
   
  Country report should include following points:
1)  The current progress and results of FNCA activities
2)  Any difficulties nowadays
3)  If any, impact of the pandemic on R&D activities (working condition, facilities usage status, additional special work, etc.)

Day 1 (November 24, 2021)

Plenary session

14:00-14:10 Opening Session
- Welcome address: Mr. FUNABIKI Takahisa, MEXT
- Opening remarks: Mr. WADA Tomoaki, FNCA coordinator of Japan
- Group photo
14:10-14:20 Overview of the FNCA projects and Major Issues of the Workshop
- RRN group: Dr. OHTSUKI Tsutomu, Japan
- NAA group: Dr. EBIHARA Mitsuru, Japan
 
Parallel session
14:30-17:00 RRU-1: Country report
  Chair: Japan / Australia
- Presentation from each country with Q&A (each 10 min)
14:30-17:00 NAA-1: Country report
  Chair: Japan / Australia
- Presentation from each country with Q&A (each 10 min)

 

Day 2 (November 25, 2021)

Parallel session
14:00-15:20 RRU-2: New Research Reactor
  Chair: Japan
- Lead speech with Q&A (30 min): CIAE, China
- Lead speech with Q&A (30 min): JAEA, Japan
- Discussion
14:00-15:20 NAA-2: General Discussion
  Chair: Japan / Australia
- General discussion
15:20-15:30 Break
15:30-16:30 RRU-3: Drafting of Minutes
  Chair: Japan / Australia
- Discussion and drafting the meeting summary
15:30-16:30 NAA-3: Drafting of Minutes
  Chair: Japan / Australia
- Discussion and drafting the meeting summary

Plenary session
16:35-17:00 Wrap up session
- Report of RRU Minutes and Discussion
- Report of NAA Minutes and Discussion
- Closing Remarks by Dr. TAMADA Masao, FNCA advisor of Japan

 

List of Participants
FNCA 2021 Online Workshop on Research Reactor Utilization Project

November 24-25, 2021



Australia

RRU Mr. Moshiul Alam
Senior Technical and Product Specialist, ANSTO
NAA Mr. Attila Stopic
Neutron Activation Scientist, ANSTO

Bangladesh

RRU Mr. Md. Tariqul Islam
Scientific Officer,
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC)
NAA Dr. Kamrun Naher
Chief Scientific Officer, Reactor & Neutron Physics Division,
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC)

China

RRU Mr. Li jianlong
Deputy Director, CARR Research Office,
China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE)
NAA Dr. Xiao Caijin
Professor,
China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE)

Indonesia

RRU Mr. Yusi Eko Yulianto
Reactor Expert,
National Reseacrh and Innovation Agency (BRIN)
RRU Dr. Rohadi Awaludin
Senior Researcher, Research Organization for Nuclear Energy,
National Reseacrh and Innovation Agency (BRIN)
NAA Mr. Sutisna
Researcher,
National Reseacrh and Innovation Agency (BRIN)

Japan

 

Mr. WADA Tomoaki
FNCA Coordinator of Japan
Dr. TAMADA Masao
FNCA Advisor of Japan
Mr. FUNABIKI Takahisa
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
Mr. YAMAMOTO Keishi
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

RRU Dr. OHTSUKI Tsutomu
Professor, Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science, Kyoto University
RRU Dr. MINEO Hideaki
Director, Preparatory Office of New Research Reactor,
Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)
RRU Dr. MATSUE Hideaki
Research Reactor Utilization Section,
Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)
NAA Dr. EBIHARA Mitsuru
Professor,
Waseda University
NAA Dr. MIURA Tsutomu
National Metrology Institute of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
  Ms. TAKANO Atsuko
Nuclear Safety Research Association (NSRA)
Ms. INOKOSHI Chiaki
Nuclear Safety Research Association (NSRA)

Kazakhstan

RRU Dr. Asset Shaimerdenov
Head of Laboratory,
Institute of Nuclear Physics
NAA Ms. Irina Prozorova
Head of Laboratory of Neutron Physics, Institute of Atomic Energy,
National Nuclear Center (NNC)

Malaysia

RRU Dr. Julia Abdul Karim
Reactor Manager,
Malaysian Nuclear Agency
NAA Mr. Md Suhaimi Elias
Research Officer,
Malaysian Nuclear Agency

Mongolia

RRU Dr. Munkhbat Byambajav
Research Scientist,
National University of Mongolia
NAA Dr. Damdinsuren Bolortuya
Researcher, Nuclear Research Center,
National University of Mongolia

Philippines

RRU Dr. Alvie Asuncion-Astronomo
Associate Scientist,
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI)
NAA Mr. Joseph Michael Racho
Senior Science Research Specialist,
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI)

Thailand

RRU Dr. Kanokrat Tiyapun
Head of Reactor Support and Planning Division,
Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT)
NAA Dr. Dussadee Rattanaphra
Senior Nuclear Scientist,
Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT)

Vietnam

RRU Mr. Duong Van Dong
Experts, Nuclear Research Institute (NRI),
Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM)
NAA Dr. Tran Tuan Anh
Researcher, Nuclear Research Institute (NRI),
Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM)

 


Online Open Seminar



As online open seminar, Dr. Rohadi Awaludin (National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN)), the Member of Indonesia in the FNCA Research Reactor Utilization Project, made a presentation.

For inquiries concerning this presentation, please find contact information as below (until March 31, 2022)


Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia