(Innovative Cluster for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies)
The Centre for Energy Research (EK) has been established in 2012 by merging two former research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, i.e. the Atomic Energy Research Institute (AEKI) and the Institute of Isotopes (IKI) to carry out research and development in the field of nuclear science and technology in Hungary. The mission of the Centre involves its participation in international research efforts aiming at the establishment of new generation of nuclear power plants and the closing of the fuel cycle; maintaining and improving competence especially in the field of nuclear safety and security; assisting in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in areas other than energy production; etc. MTA EK is one of the Technical Support Organizations of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority and together with this organization one of the Nuclear Security Support Centres in the Framework of the IAEA. At the same time MTA EK was nominated to a Collaborating Centre of the IAEA for Nuclear Forensics in 2016. One of the main activities of MTA EK is the participation in combating illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. This task is delegated to MTA EK by the Governmental Decree 490/2015 (XII.30) (previously 17/1996). Nuclear forensics activities started in Hungary in the beginning of ‘90.
The Nuclear Security Department is one of the twelve scientific departments of the Centre and its basic and applied research activities are mainly related to nuclear safeguards and forensics using non-destructive (gamma spectrometry and neutron counting) and destructive (mass spectrometry) analytical methods. Beside these research fields of various dosimetry methods (retrospective, reactor, environmental radiation processing) and environmental control are under development and in routine use. The main research areas involve: Analysis of nuclear material of unknown origin (illicit trafficking). Determination of isotopics of uranium, plutonium (e.g. in PuBe neutron sources) and other actinides by gamma spectrometry and mass spectrometry. Gross neutron counting. Multiplicity counting: the traditionally used shift register is replaced by a digital pulse train recorder (list mode) developed at the department. Analysis of trace elements. Assessment of nuclear material in safeguards related samples. Analysis of long-lived radionuclides in environmental samples. Study of the laser ablation technique in the above and other fields. Use of retrospective dosimetry in nuclear forensics.
The Nuclear Security Department has training laboratories and activities for 10-15 years. Several international and regional training courses were organized at the Research Centre in the field of Nuclear Forensics; Nuclear Security (e.g. Radiological Crime Scene Management); and Gamma Dosimetry for Radiation Processing. Summer trainings and longer IAEA fellowship programs were also carried out at the Centre. MTA EK is also participating in IAEA Safeguards inspector trainings. Two special IAEA training programs were piloted at the Centre: 1-week Practical Introduction Training Course in 2014 and 3 months long Residential Assignment Complex Program for Nuclear Forensics in 2015.
National trainings are organized for Radiological Crime Scene Management and Radiation Protection. Besides, a Testing Laboratory was established at the Centre to help the development of nuclear instruments and detection systems for nuclear security purposes (detection of hidden and masked nuclear materials) using dynamic and static tests under controlled conditions. Unique property of the laboratory is the availability of wide scale of alpha-, beta-, gamma- and neutron emitting shielded radioactive sources and nuclear materials of different activities for tests. The capabilities of this laboratory are utilized in several EU projects connected to nuclear security.
MTA EK has been participating at some EU projects in the field of Nuclear Security: FP7 Booster (2010- 2013), FP7 Scintilla (2012-2014), EUROSTARS (2015-2017), H2020 C-BORD (2015-2018), ITRAP-10+ (2017-2018), as well as decommissioning: H2020 INSIDER (2017-2021).
The topic of the former Booster (BiO-dOSimetric Tools for triagE to Responders) project connects strongly to INCLUDING: designed to research and develop new bio-dosimetric tools in order to quickly evaluate the level of potential casualties, determine by appropriate sensors their consequences, allow an efficient triage of exposed people, integrate a useful and usable toolbox, train civil protection operators and define commercial exploitation potentialities after a terror attack using dirty bombs.
MTA EK proposes to organize during the project 2x one-day demonstration combined with in-field exercises to practice radiological crime scene management and to respond an incident with simulated dirty bomb explosions together with testing of hand-held and remote detector systems. The exercise will be connected to evaluation meeting to determine lessons learnt and to define best practices. Practitioners from the Consortium can be observers and also active participants. Practitioners from external organizations can participate as observer during the field exercises. Training sessions will be organized before the exercises.