The Halden Reactor Project

The Halden Project is a joint undertaking of national organizations in 19 countries sponsoring a jointly financed programme under the auspices of the OECD – Nuclear Energy Agency.

The programme aims to generate key information for safety and licensing assessments and aim at providing:

  • Extended fuel utilization: Basic data on how the fuel performs in commercial reactors, both at normal operation and transient conditions, with emphasis on extended fuel utilization.
  • Degradation of core materials: Knowledge of plant materials behaviour under the combined deteriorating effects of water chemistry and nuclear environment.
  • Man-Technology-Organisation (MTO): Advances in human factors, human reliability, and human-machine interaction in support of upgraded and new control rooms. In addition, aspects such as condition-based maintenance, and planning & training for decommissioning are part of the MTO programme activities.

These items are collectively known as The Joint Programme.

Key features of the Joint Programme:

  • Practical applicablity of results
  • Continuously upgraded facilities
  • Qualified technical personnel
  • Innovative technologies

The Joint programme is financed by the participating countries and is renewed every three years. As a host country, Norway covers about 35% of the Joint programme cost. The Project’s employees include, amongst others, ~60 university graduates and ~10 foreign experts on temporary assignment.

The programme results are systematically reported in Halden Work Reports and in Enlarged meetings organised by the Project. Participants’ activities are also presented at these meetings. Special workshops with participation of experts are frequently arranged for in-depth assessments of specific issues.

A number of organisations in the participating countries execute their own development work in collaboration with the Project. These bilateral arrangements constitute an important complement to the Joint programme.

The Halden reactor was shut down permanently in June 2018. It has been regarded in many countries as a strategic asset for testing fuel and reactor components. The plant operation has always been very satisfactory and authority requirements have been fulfilled with ample margins.

A few in-reactor loops are still in operation, and are utilised for corrosion and stress corrosion studies and for water chemistry investigations.

The experimental work is supported by a technical infrastructure including workshops, electronics and chemistry laboratories, and results are stored in a computerised Data Bank. Post irradiation examinations are conducted in the Kjeller hot cells, as well as in external hot cells.

The organisations participating in the Halden Project represent a complete cross section of the nuclear community, including licensing and regulatory bodies, vendors, utility industry and research organisations. The active guidance and scrutiny exerted by all participants on the programmes ensure that they remain focused on issues of direct and practical relevance.

The programme is executed by the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) at its Halden establishment. All technologies and products developed in the programme are available to participants. Several programme items, especially within the MTO programme, have applications in a range of non-nuclear industries as demonstrated by a number of projects carried out in cooperation with the Project’s member organisations, as well as non-member organisations.


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