Ansaldo Nucleare to Build the ATHENA Experimental Facility in Romania

The consortium including Ansaldo Nucleare (ENS Corporate Member) and Reinvent Energy (Romania), has been awarded a contract worth approximately €20 million for the design, procurement, installation, and commissioning service of the ATHENA experimental plant.

ATHENA – Advanced Thermo-Hydraulics Experiment for Nuclear Application will be a 2.21 MW pool-type facility housing 880 tons of liquid lead in a main vessel (3 meters in diameter by 10 meters in height). This facility will host scale components for testing and demonstration of Lead Fast Reactor technology, that is liquid lead refrigeration fast spectrum reactors. The facility will be built at the RATEN-ICN research centre near Pitesti in southern Romania.

The consortium is supported by ENEA (Italy) and SRS (Italy) for the conceptual and executive design of the technological part, as well as by ISPE (Romania) and Somet (Romania), respectively for the design of civil works and installation activities.

The project involves the construction of an electrical core-based simulator, a main pump and a heat exchanger similar to the arrangement of the Advanced Lead-cooled Fast Reactor European Demonstrator system (ALFRED), the first project of a new generation nuclear reactor entirely conceived and managed by a pan-European community of researchers. The plant will also be equipped with a water-cooling circuit to ensure representative conditions on the secondary side of the heat exchanger. The main scientific objectives of ATHENA concern the research and development needs (e.g., chemistry control, lead / water interaction), as well as stationary and transient testing of thermohydraulic phenomena occurring during normal operation and accidental conditions of an LFR reactor.

The ATHENA project will bring to light the largest facility in Europe for research on LFR technology. The experimental results produced will be a key to support the development of ALFRED in Romania and in Europe.

said Luca Manuelli, CEO of Ansaldo Nucleare.

Read the full Ansaldo Nucleare Press Release.