The Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said on Thursday that the Neutron Source subcritical nuclear facility at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology was not operating because it had been switched by experts to the so-called long-term shutdown mode.
"As of March 10, 2022, the situation at the nuclear subcritical facility Neutron Source Based on the Subcritical Assembly Driven by a Linear Electron Accelerator (Neutron Source) remains unchanged: the nuclear facility has been transferred to a deep subcritical state ('long shutdown' mode)," the inspectorate said.
The nuclear subcritical facility Neutron Source Based on the Subcritical Assembly Driven by a Linear Electron Accelerator was built to obtain neutrons and use them in fundamental and applied research, as well as to educate and train specialists for the nuclear energy industry of Ukraine.
The installation is a completely new type of safe nuclear installation, in which the intensity of the nuclear fission reaction of the uranium-235 isotope in the core is controlled by an electron accelerator. The main advantage of the facility is related to its safety – under normal operation conditions, it is always in the so-called subcritical mode, and in the event of an emergency, it is enough to stop feeding the electron beam to the target, and the neutron flux disappears almost instantly. It is impossible for a nuclear chain reaction to take place in this facility.