Research Activities in the Area of Nuclear Energy

The nuclear and physical facilities of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine are used for fundamental research in nuclear and radiation physics, reactor material science, condensed matter physics, geology, ecology, biology and so on. They are also used to produce radioisotopes for medicine and industry, radiation sterilization, processing of semiconductor structures, study of nanostructures and preservation of artifacts. These facilities play an important role in solving issues of modern nuclear energy of Ukraine, developing reactors of future generations and thermonuclear facilities.

The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is entrusted with scientific and technical support of nuclear energy. The National Academy’s Department of Nuclear Physics and Energy was established on the initiative of Boris Paton in order to accomplish this task effectively. One of the most important tasks was to study promising areas in the nuclear energy development in Ukraine and to elaborate appropriate proposals for the Energy Strategy.

In 2004, the State Program of Fundamental and Applied Research on the Use of Nuclear Materials and Nuclear and Radiation Technologies was adopted for the development of economic sectors for 2004-2010 (approved by Cabinet Resolution No. 1165 dated 8 September 2004).

The main Program objective is to perform fundamental and applied research in the use of nuclear materials and radiation technologies for the needs of nuclear energy and other sectors of economy.

More than 40 scientific institutions of the National Academy of Sciences, higher educational institutions and organizations of other ministries worked to implement 283 projects of this Program. Important results were obtained for scientific and technical support of nuclear energy, being the key sector of Ukraine’s economy. Some of them have already been implemented and others will be implemented in the near future.

Furthermore, the Program strengthened relations between institutions of the National Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine and National Nuclear Operator “Energoatom”. The National Academy of Sciences took more active part in determining the state policy on the development of Ukrainian atomic energy sector.

Interesting, promising research results were obtained for further implementation. This relates, in particular, to technologies for obtaining new titanium-based metal hydride materials for spent nuclear fuel containers, as well production of nuclear-purity hafnium for neutron absorbing elements.

Considering general success of the Program, the Academy took an initiative to continue it, which was supported by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Organizations of the National Academy’s Department of Nuclear Physics and Energy performing fundamental and applied research for the nuclear branch are listed below:

73.10.0 – Research and developments in the field of natural and engineering sciences:

  • NSC KIPT research plant
  • Institute of Environmental Geochemistry (National Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine)
  • NSC KIPT Institute for Plasma Electronics and New Methods of Acceleration
  • NSC KIPT Akhiezer Institute for Theoretical Physic
  • NSC KIPT Institute of Solid State Physics, Materials Science and Technology
  • NSC KIPT Institute of High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics
  • NSC KIPT Institute of Plasma Physics
  • Training and Scientific Center “Physical and Chemical Material Science”, of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • National Scientific Center “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology”.

73.10.1 – Research and developments in the field of natural sciences:

  • Institute of Electrophysics and Radiation Technologies.

73.10.2 – Research and developments in the field of engineering sciences:

  • Scientific and Technological Center “Beryllium”
  • Institute of Applied Physics
  • Nuclear Research Institute.

Kyiv Nuclear Research Institute

Research reactor WWR-M of the Kyiv Nuclear Research Institute (NRI, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) is one of the first research reactors built and commissioned in the USSR. It was designed at the initiative of academician I. Kurchatov to implement the program for nuclear regional centers to be provided with nuclear research reactors that formed the basis for many scientific, technical and educational institutions.

In May 2002, in compliance with legislation in force, a license was granted to the NRI for operation of a nuclear installation including the research reactor WWR-M and spent nuclear fuel storage facility. According to the license, the lifetime of nuclear research reactor WWR-M was limited to 31 December 2008.

According to the Law of Ukraine “On Authorizing Activity in Nuclear Energy Use” of 31 October 2008, the NRI submitted an application to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) to amend the license for operation of the research reactor WWR-M and spent nuclear fuel storage facility. The application proposed to extend the lifetime of reactor WWR-M up to 31 December 2017.

However, the SNRIU Board issued resolution on 19 December 2008 to terminate operation of the research reactor since the applicant did not provide adequate data to decide whether its lifetime could be extended.

The Nuclear Research Institute made relevant efforts to resolve the comments received and passed the state review on nuclear and radiation safety. The SNRIU conducted an inspection to check NRI readiness to extend the research reactor’s lifetime. This gave grounds to the SNRIU to reconsider the lifetime extension of the research reactor to 31 December 2013.

It should be noted that the Government of Ukraine approved the concept developed by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine to design a new multi-purpose research reactor.

In the years of independence, new nuclear-physical reactors were designed:

  • rechargeable electrostatic accelerator (tandem) EGP-10K of the Kyiv Nuclear Research Institute was commissioned in 1996. It is intended to generate beams of protons and deuterons with 3-10 MeV energy and α-particles with 5-15 MeV. The tandem allows heavy ions to be accelerated over a wide mass range. The beam current reaches 5 mA, monochromaticity 10-3;
  • accelerators with microbeams at the Institute of Applied Physics (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine);
  • powerful electron accelerators within 10-100 MeV energy range at the National Scientific Center “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology” (NSC KIPT, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). Accelerator ELIAS built in the NSC KIPT with the help of the Nuclear Research Center (Jülich, Germany) is widely used in research programs in Ukraine and Europe.

The Institute of Applied Physics assembles accelerators Pelletron-b and CV-28 transferred to Ukraine by German scientific and research institutions.

Rechargeable electrostatic accelerator EGP-10K

VVR-MKievResearch reactor WWR-М

The reconstruction of NSC KIPT electron accelerator LPE-300 with a Nestor installation is at the final stage, 30 MeV section and 60 MeV injector for accumulator N-100M have been put into action. The NSC KIPT will commission a line for production of medical radionuclides, including a powerful electron accelerator and radiochemical laboratory with hot cells.

The NSC KIPT and the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) have developed a conceptual design for research nuclear facility “neutron source based on a subcritical assembly driven by a linear electron accelerator”.

The accelerator-driven subcritical assembly is designed to produce neutrons and use them in fundamental and applied research as well as to educate and train experts for the atomic energy industry of Ukraine.

Research Reactor DR-100

Research reactor DR-100 with thermal power of 200 kW is operated by Sevastopil National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry (hereinafter SNUNEI) based on SNRIU license ЕО No. 000131 of 24 June 2003 for “nuclear facility operation” (henceforth License ЕО No. 000131). Initial criticality of the reactor was performed on 18 April 1967, and the scram control system of DR-100 was modernized in 1977.

RD-100 with thermal power of 200 kW is designed for educational, research and development activities in nuclear and molecular physics, radiation chemistry, production of radioactive isotopes, studying the properties of materials, devices and equipment irradiated in the of neutron and gamma ray fields, as well as for training of experts in nuclear reactor control.

The reactor complex was constructed according to the joint decision of the Central Committee of the Naval Forces of the Soviet Union, the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, and the State Committee for Nuclear Energy Use of 21 April 1961. The reactor was put into operation by Order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of the Soviet Union No. 0318 of 18 October 1967. The Scientific, Research and Design Institute of Energy Techniques (Moscow) is the reactor designer and manufacturer.

At the beginning of 2012, in connection with the expired justified life of critical components, the SNRIU obliged the operator to perform safety review of DR-100 and submit the Periodical Safety Review Report (henceforth PSRR) to determine the new terms and conditions for further safe operation of DR-100.

In 2013-2014, SNUNEI successfully continued its efforts aimed at justification of further safe operation of DR-100 and revision of the Periodical Safety Review Report according to the comments of the state review on nuclear and radiation safety. Unfortunately, PSRR revision has not been completed because of the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

Considering the absence of any licensee’s response to the application of the regulatory body and failure to take any corrective measures, the validity of License EO No. 000131 was TERMINATED on 16 July 2014 according to the established procedure. The licensee was informed on this fact by the letter stating also the conditions to renew the validity of the License. As of 01 January 2015, no condition established to renew the validity of the License EO No. 000131 was met.

One should note that the issues related to SNUNEI nuclear facilities are under the control of the IAEA, which during many meetings and consultations approved that radioactive materials and nuclear facilities located in Crimea and Sevastopil are the property of Ukraine.

Neutron Source (NSC KIPT)

The neutron source based on subcritical assembly driven by linear electron accelerator (Neutron Source) was designed by the National Scientific Center “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (NSC KIPT) in compliance with the agreements of the Washington Summit presented in the joint application of the Presidents of Ukraine and the USA of April 2010 and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the USA on Cooperation in Nuclear Safety signed on 26 September 2011. The project for designing the Neutron Source was implemented with the support of the Argonne National Laboratory of the USA.

According to the IAEA terminology, the Neutron Source refers to nuclear subcritical systems driven by linear accelerators (sub-critical accelerator driven systems). The proposals to use subcritical assemblies in nuclear engineering were made in the mid-1950s. However, application of such systems has been postponed for a long time because there was no possibility of neutron generation. Increased activity in the world dealing with research and the use of subcritical assemblies is related to the development of accelerated physics and techniques on the one hand and improvement of power engineering and the need for research of subcritical systems and investigations in different spheres of science and medicine on the other hand.

NSC KIPT Neutron Source is an innovative nuclear facility with energy generation in the core up to 300 kW. Current facilities operated in Belgium, China, Belarus are the so-called zero power subcritical systems. At the same time, the consortium of the European countries (Belgium, France, Sweden, and Germany) plans to develop Myrrha subcritical system with thermal power of 100 МW, and construction of Venus III facility with thermal power of 60 MW is planned in China.

NSC KIPT Neutron Source is designed for scientific and applied research in the sphere of nuclear physics, radiation material science, biology, chemistry, and production of medical radioisotopes.

The principle of obtaining an intensive neutron flow in the Neutron Source is based on neutron multiplication of the external source in the medium, which contains nuclear material. The geometry of location and the mass of nuclear material used is specified so as the efficient coefficient of neutron multiplication (Keff max, the main indicator of the state of nuclear system in physical language) is below 1 in any initiating event, thus, it disables the initiation of self-sustained chain fission reaction. Keff max shall be below 0.98 for normal operating conditions, abnormal operation and design-basis accidents.

This nuclear facility is constructed in compliance with the conditions of SNRIU License ЕО No. 001018 for Neutron Source construction and commissioning issued on 10 October 2013. According to the conditions of this license, within the period from 2013 to 2014, the operator NSC KIPT performed activities related to Neutron Source construction, development of the operating documentation, and its agreement with the SNRIU (technical specifications for equipment important to safety).


  1. Resolution of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences No. 96 of 09 April 2010;
  2. Documents of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety;
  3. SNRIU documents