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High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO)

Other Name: 하나로; Korea Multi-Purpose Research Reactor (KMRR)
Location: Deokjin-dong, Yusong-gu, Daecheon, South Korea
Subordinate To: Center for Applications of Radioisotopes and Radiation, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Ministry of Science and Technology
Size: 30 MW(th)
Facility Status: Operational

In the early 1980s, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) conducted a feasibility study on the development of a multi-purpose research reactor to support South Korea's nuclear energy development program. The goals of the study were to assess the possibility of developing a research reactor that could be used for fuel and material tests, to support the manufacturing of fuel and reactor components for pressurized light water reactors (PWR) and CANDU power plants, as well as the production of radioisotopes, neutron activation analysis of nuclear materials, neutron radiography for the examination of spent fuel assemblies, and non-destructive examinations of both nuclear and non-nuclear materials. [1] In 1985, the South Korean government approved a plan to develop a research reactor, and in 1987 the project was licensed by the Atomic Energy Commission. Construction began in March 1989, and the reactor was named the Korea Multi-Purpose Research Reactor (KMRR). [2] In 1994, the reactor's name was changed to High Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO). HANARO reached initial criticality in February 1995 and began normal operations in January 1996.

HANARO's reactor system and facility were jointly designed and developed by KAERI and Atomic Energy of Canada, Limited (AECL). The basic design of HANARO is based on AECL's Multipurpose Applied Physics Lattice Experiment (MAPLE), which uses light water as a coolant and heavy water in the reactor core, and it operates at a capacity of 5-40 MW(th). The HANARO reactor has an open tank in-pool for easy access, and the core uses a combination of a light water cooled and moderated inner core, and a light and heavy water moderated outer core. The inner core has 28 fuel sites and three test sites. HANARO uses low enriched uranium (19.75 percent) for fuel and has an operational cycle of 28 days. [3]

HANARO is designed to be operational at 30 MW(th), but due to regulatory restrictions it has been operating at 26 MW(th). Irradiation and beam experiment facilities are located in the same facility as the HANARO reactor. Near the HANARO reactor are the Radioisotope and Radiopharmaceutical Production Facilities, which currently hold 21 hot cells. There is also a facility for HANARO's waste management and other auxiliary facilities. HANARO is used for neutron beam applications, fuel and material irradiation, nuclear fuel testing, neutron activation analysis, radioisotope production, neutron transmutation doping, and the development of nuclear materials. [4] In early 2001, the South Korean government announced plans for KAERI to process and supply nuclear fuel for the HANARO reactor starting in 2003. This includes 45 bundles of fuel rods for HANARO and 420kg of mixed powder used in making fuel rods for exports. [5]

On 9 June 2005, the unit was shut down after the detection of an Iodine-131 leak. The leak was caused by a defect in the exhaust filter system, and was reported on the IAEA's International Nuclear Events Scale as a Level 1 incident. The unit was shut down for several months to review management and organization. [6]

In 2009, KAERI completed a set of improvements to HANARO, greatly increasing its versatility. The facility now incorporates a fuel test loop (FTL), allowing Korea to safety test new types of nuclear fuel without sending it overseas. The project began in 2001 and cost approximately 24 billion won. In 2003, work started on the now completed Cold Neutron Research Facility. Cold neutrons can be applied in research of biological and nano structures, as well as in the production of electronic parts such as computer chips and displays. [7]

Sources:
[1] "High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO)," hanaro.kaeri.re.kr.
[2] "Research Reactor Details - HANARO," International Atomic Energy Agency Research Reactor Database (RRDB), www.iaea.org; "Research Reactors," The Canadian Nuclear FAQ, www.nuclearfaq.ca.
[3] "High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO)," hanaro.kaeri.re.kr; "Research Reactors," The Canadian Nuclear FAQ, www.nuclearfaq.ca.
[4] "High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO)," hanaro.kaeri.re.kr; "South Korea," Nucleonics Week, 23 February 1995, p. 14, in Lexis-Nexis, web.lexis-nexis.com; "Korean Research Reactors, Home and Away," World Nuclear News, 26 January 2010, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[5] "S. Korea to Produce R&D Nuclear Reactor Fuel Rods," Asia Pulse, 9 March 2001, in Lexis-Nexis, web.lexis-nexis.com.
[6] Mark Hibbs, "Regulators' Probe of KAERI Event Uncovers Management Problems," Inside NRC, 12 December 2005, in Lexis-Nexis, web.lexis-nexis.com.
[7] "Korean Research Reactors, Home and Away," World Nuclear News, 26 January 2010, www.world-nuclear-news.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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