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The Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) is one of the most modern research reactors worldwide. Its safety level by far surpasses the requirements included in the operating permit. This was now confirmed by the Reactor Safety Commission (RSK), which has reviewed the German research reactors by request of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Background for this review and evaluation of the German research reactors by the RSK was the incident in Japan's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. After a security review of the German nuclear power plants, the RSK was requested by the German Bundestag to additionally review the German research reactors. The RSK has now submitted the results. The focus of the evaluation was, to which degree research reactors are safe under extreme conditions and in case of incidents that exceed the design.
In particular, the RSK confirmed that all safety-relevant functions of the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) remain fully operational in case of a plane crash of a large airliner, in the event of a 10,000-year flood of the river Isar and in the event of an earthquake, whose magnitude is significantly greater than that which has ever been observed at the site. The board agrees that the organizational details of the emergency plan have to be further developed. “The results of the Reactor Safety Commission reconfirm that the Research Neutron Source reliably shuts down and goes into a passively safe state even at extremely improbable events,” says Prof. Winfried Petry, scientific director of the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) .