OYSTER: the technology and the changes
The RIDs’ nuclear reactor is not designed to generate electricity, but to produce neutrons. These can be used in a wide range of research. In fact, the reactor is nothing more or less than a neutron source. And it is not particularly powerful. Its current thermal power is just 2 MW. By comparison, the figure for the nuclear power station at Borssele is 1500 MW.
As part of the OYSTER programme, the RID’s neutron source is being connected to a system which will cool the neutrons it produces to -250 °C. At this extremely low temperature, it is easier for our scientists to “guide” the particles and so obtain better research results.
In tandem with this change, we are developing new measuring equipment for use with the cold neutrons we will now be producing. These devices will allow researchers to take measurements which have never before been possible.
Thanks to the changes being made under the OYSTER programme, scientists using the RID will be able to take measurements a hundred times faster or better than is currently the case. This will encourage more cutting-edge research, accelerate innovation and so benefit the Dutch knowledge economy.