This special issue is dedicated primarily to research performed in the Research Centre Řež Centrum Výzkumu Řež (CVŘ hereafter) during the Research for SUSEN (R4S) project (project solved in CVŘ), which is the follow-up of the (SUSEN) project (sustainable energy project, that was successfully completed at the end of 2020. Research Centre Řež (Fig. 1) is a research organization founded in 2002. It is a member of the UJV Group (Czech nuclear engineering company), and it is focused on precommercial research in power-generation technologies, predominantly, but not exclusively, in the nuclear field. The R4S project comprised many topics, including the research and development of new technologies for current and future generations of nuclear reactor systems and nuclear fusion reactors. It was carried out within the CVŘ, in close partnership with the University of West Bohemia, and was funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.
During the SUSEN project, a large number of experimental facilities, related mainly to nuclear research in energy and nonenergy applications were designed and developed.
The R4S project is opening new opportunities: experimental facilities for research at universities, research institutions, and the industry. These opportunities were exploited mainly by Czech users and also a small number of international users. Included among the aforementioned facilities are nuclear reactors (Figs. 2 and 3), experimental loops (Figs. 4 and 5), hot cells (Fig. 6), and analytical and mechanical testing laboratories (Figs. 7 and 8) intended for material research. Many experimental facilities are focused on safety research, like the loss of coolant accident testing device for the cold crucible, which is essential for studies with melted corium. A number of opportunities were also opened in the fusion field.
Several scientific goals have been achieved, including, among others, the establishment of a strong international collaboration that helped the LR-0 scientists in setting the neutron reference field in the LR-0 reactor (light water zero power reactor). This was fully utilized in the development of the new dosimetry library IRDFF-II. It is not only dosimetry cross sections that CVŘ is focused on but also structural materials cross sections, like oxygen, as presented in “Testing Oxygen Nuclear Data Libraries in Research Centre Řež” (Schulc et al. in this special issue (SI). The international collaboration is also essential for the development of advanced nuclear reactors supercritical water reactor (SCWR), lead fast reactor (LFR), molten salt reactor (MSR), and gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR). Sound examples are presented in papers in this SI by Mazzini et al., Krykova et al., Marusakova et al., Rozumova et al., Pazderova et al., Reungoat et al., and Filip et al.
The leading position held by Czech nuclear research is demonstrated by the collaboration of CVŘ both with industry and with academics in many national projects. For example, a national collaboration is found in the characterization of the Czech Technical University in Prague research reactor VR-1 (Research reactor of zero power in Czech Technical University) in a paper by Losa et al. in this SI. This support reflects the high level of experience in research reactor utilization in nuclear research. LVR-15 (15 MW research reactor) is, among others, a national tool for a radioisotope production, but it is also an excellent intensive neutron source. Thus, naturally, it is also used as a source of neutrons for the development of new detectors for high doses determination (Zoul et al. in this SI) or neutron detection (Viererbl et al. in this SI). Moreover, in the LVR-15 reactor, there is a unique neutron filter, which forms a quasi-mono-energetic neutron field. This tool is excellent for the research and development of new detectors for neutron spectrometry (Matej et al. in this SI) and for the validation of important structural materials, like iron (Juricek et al. in this SI). The LR-0 reactor is not only a reference neutron field for the development of new libraries, but it is also an important national tool for the validation (Sobaleu et al. in this SI) and support of the International Reactor Physics Experiment Evaluation Project (IRPhEP) project database (Czakoj et al. in this SI). Involvement in the fusion project is reflected in the validation of the important fusion monitoring reaction 63Cu(n,2n) (Schulc et al. in this SI).
The industrial collaboration is demonstrated mainly in the fields of material research and nondestructive testing, which are both essential for safe operation in power engineering. This is illustrated in the work of Vesela et al. in this SI in relation to the surface profile evaluation of steam blades or 3D profilometry utilization in nuclear reactors (Brom et al. in this SI). Nonlinear wave application is presented in a paper by Patera et al. in this SI. Material structure characterization research and material testing of steel materials (Spirit et al. in this SI), fuel cladding materials (Gavelova et al. in this SI), and even welds (Rehorek et al. in this SI) are also represented. Properties and the service life of structural materials are also defined by the chemistry of the environment in which they are utilized. One of the important chemistry controls is in the primary circuit of power plants (Kus et al. in this SI). in the secondary circuit (steam flow) (Mrozek et al. in this SI), or even in the development of advanced measuring systems (Knedlik et al. in this SI) have been performed.
The utilization of the analytical method developed using secondary ion mass spectrometry has helped in the dynamically growing nonproliferation field. Validation of this method has led to further collaboration with IAEA. It is interesting to note that these tools are valuable not only in proliferation but also in reactor physics. A paper by Elyantev et al. in this SI demonstrates its use in the characterization of nuclear materials used in the LR-0 reactor.
The safety research is represented by material studies in the cold crucible (Hrbek et al., Rot et al. in this SI) and studies ensuring fuel integrity (Kopec et al. in this SI). Other safety research is demonstrated in studies on the radiation degradation of concrete (Hlavac et al. in this SI).
Michal Košťál Guest Editor Research Center Rez, Husinec Rez, Hlavni 130, Czech Republic
Martin Schulc Guest Editor Research Center Rez, Husinec Rez, Hlavni 130, Czech Republic