Evening Lecture – The Pallas reactor

The PALLAS project aims to realize a state-of-the-art multifunctional nuclear reactor, suitable for producing medical isotopes and for conducting nuclear technology research. This reactor will replace the current High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten (NL), which is approaching the end of its economic life after over fifty years of operation. From 2025 onwards, PALLAS will play a crucial role in the supply chain for radiopharmaceutical products allowing millions of people with cancer and cardiovascular diseases to be diagnosed and treated. Furthermore it is expected that the need for the medical isotopes will increase dramatically in the following years and decades due to the aging population, the growth in prosperity and the higher life expectancy. Moreover, only about five other countries possess adequate production facilities and a mature isotope production infrastructure. Currently HFR provides over 30% of the world isotopes supply and PALLAS’ aim is to take over such market share.

PALLAS is facing a challenging objective: to become the first privately funded research reactor.

PALLAS activities are divided into various phases. The first phase concerns the design, the tender of the reactor’s construction and obtaining the required permits. At the same time, a solidly substantiated business case will be compiled in order to attract private financing for the construction, commissioning and operation of the nuclear reactor. To this end, PALLAS obtained an 80 million euro loan from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Province of North Holland. The goal is to complete the work for this phase in 2020.

The second phase will be financed by private companies or institutions. PALLAS will start preparations for and the construction itself in 2020. This phase will take about five years. The goal is to have the new reactor operational in 2025, and then gradually take over production of medical isotopes from the HFR. The life expectancy is estimated to be at least 40 years.

The project is currently in the Basic Design phase. This involves both PALLAS, as the main responsible party for the safety, the compliance to the legal framework and to the technical requirements, the financing and the schedule, and the Nuclear Island Designer ICHOS, a consortium of the Argentinian company INVAP and the Dutch company TBI.

The PALLAS reactor is a pool-type reactor using Low-Enriched Uranium with a Heavy Water Reflector with several irradiation positions to produce radioisotopes: this will make PALLAS the world leader for the supply of Molybdenum-99 (diagnosis), Lutetium-177 (therapy) and other medical radioisotopes. In addition to this, dedicated positions will allow fundamental research, assisted by the hot cells and laboratories in the Nuclear Island.


Mar 28, 2019


6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Engie Tower
Boulevard Simon Bolivar 34-36, 1000 Brussels


  • Matteo Greco
    Deputy Tractebel Team Leader at PALLAS

    Matteo Greco graduated in Energy Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2006 and in Nuclear Engineering in Politecnico di Milano and KTH of Stockholm (Sweden) in 2009.

    Employed at TRACTEBEL Belgium, he is currently part of the Owner’s engineer team supporting the PALLAS organization in the realization of a New Nuclear multipurpose research Reactor for the production of medical radioisotopes and nuclear research. Matteo’s role in the project is Thermal-hydraulic Specialist and Senior Plant System Engineer and recently he also became Deputy TRACTEBEL team leader at PALLAS.

    During his experience at Tractebel, he also contributed to the Filtered Containment Venting System and the Emergency Feedwater for the NPP of Doel and Tihange. Earlier in his career, Matteo worked at SCK-CEN where he designed and simulated the scaled model (E-SCAPE) of the MYRRHA reactor, a Lead-Bismuth cooled Fast Reactor. In the beginning of his career, Matteo worked in Italy at the design of the Small Modular PWR of Westinghouse conception called IRIS (International Reactor Innovative and Secure).

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