Defining the ISOL@MYRRHA facility

ISOL@MYRRHA is the new ISOL facility under implementation at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK CEN in Mol, within phase 1 of the project MYRRHA1 accelerator driven system (ADS). In this first phase, the facility will receive a proton beam of 100 MeV with up to 500 μA on target (200 μA for actinide targets). ISOL@MYRRHA will feature a research programme including fundamental research in subatomic physics, research with radioactive probes in condensed and soft matter, and radioisotope production for nuclear medicine.

A first Users Workshop was organized in June 22-24, with the aim to inform the various user communities and technical collaborators about the status of the MYRRHA project and implementation of its ISOL facility, but also to discuss the main scientific challenges that this facility could tackle and to brainstorm on how the facility can best answer the needs of its future user community. The workshop took place online, on the ZOOM platform, in three consecutive afternoons from 13:00 until 17:00. To maximize the participation and stimulate discussions, the registration was kept open and the link to the various sessions was communicated to the participants on the first day of the workshop. The event was a success, with more than 180 registrations.

The presentations and discussions during the plenary and parallel sessions, provided valuable feedback on potential applications to be implemented, technical suggestions, points of view on user expectations as well as user needs. This workshop gathered information as well on the operation of various experiments by the users, which is both timely and relevant for the operational concept description, which is currently drafted at ISOL@MYRRHA. In preparation for day-1 experiments, it is now the time for future users to shape the facility to their needs and expectations on the basis of their future plans.

The three major user communities gathered in parallel topical panels at the end of the second day of the workshop. The conveners of these panels presented the conclusion of the brainstorming sessions in the last day of the workshop. Fundamental interactions, Nuclear Structure, Solid state & soft matter physics as well as Medical Radioisotopes user communities expressed interest in the new opportunities at ISOL@MYRRHA. Although availability of extended beam times is appreciated by all these communities, there are differences in the needs and expectations of the different communities. ISOL@MYRRHA aims to be complementary to current ISOL facilities, therefore its scientific programme but also operational approach will be defined to ensure this complementarity.

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