Last Updated: June 10, 2014
Other Name: YU-0002
Location: Vinča
Subordinate To: Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča
Size: 6.5 Megawatt Thermal (MWth)
Facility Status: N/A

The 6.5 MWth heavy water moderated reactor was designed by Soviet scientists at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, and constructed jointly by Soviet and Yugoslav companies at the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory – NET, now renamed the Center for Nuclear Technologies and Research (NTI) at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča. Construction began in 1956, and RA went critical in December 1959.

RA originally used 2% enriched S-shape uranium metal elements that were produced in the Elektrostal factory near Moscow. They were configured as hollow, cylindrical segments 112.5 mm X 39 mm in size and weighing approximately 6 grams each. The total load weighed 4.7Kg. In 1976, the Soviets introduced new 80% enriched uranium dioxide TVR-S fuel elements that were produced at the "Novosibirsk Chemical Concentration Plant" from Novosibirsk, Russia. It operated intermittently until August 1984 when it was shut down for an extended period due to safety concerns. At the time, no arrangements were made for managing the old Soviet fuel. In August 2002, out of worries for the safety and security of RA's fuel load, American technicians cooperated with Russian agencies, and Yugoslavian staff members to transport more than 5000 fuel rods containing 100 pounds of unirradiated 80% enriched HEU fuel, stored in 30 aluminum casks, to Russia. In October 2006, the IAEA announced that it had finalized a contract to package and ship more than two metric tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from the reactor to Russia. According to IAEA's program manager for the Vinca project, about 30 percent of the fuel may be contaminating the pool where it is currently stored, thus requiring that the removal be done remotely. The RA reactor is currently shut down, and is slated for decommissioning.

[1] "RA Reactor," Center for Nuclear Technologies and Research (NTI), Updated 2003,
[2] "RA Reactor," Center for Nuclear Technologies and Research (NTI), Updated 2003,
[3] M.P. Pesic, S.T. Cupac, Z.S. Vukadin, "Management of Ageing Research Reactors," IAEA-SM-360/42P, Symposium on Reactor Reactor Utilization, Safety and Management, Portugal, 6-10 September 1999.
[4] "Research Reactor Details – RA," IAEA Research Reactor Database,, Updated 2002.
[5] "RA Reactor," Center for Nuclear Technologies and Research (NTI), Updated 2003,
[6] Bunn, Matthew, Anthony Wier, and John P. Holdren, "Controlling Nuclear Warheads and Materials: A Report Card and Action Plan," Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University, March 2003.
[7] "RA Reactor," Center for Nuclear Technologies and Research (NTI), Updated 2003,

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.