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Photonis and Newcleo Sign Purchase Order to Explore Deployment of Nuclear Detectors

Photonis, part of Exosens, a market-leading global provider of electro-optic solutions used in the detection and amplification of photons, ions, electrons, and neutrons, confirms its commitment into supporting key actors of the nuclear industry, in order to meet the safety and performance challenges faced by the new generation of nuclear reactors. Photonis is providing newcleo, a renowned European leader in nuclear innovation, development and technical support to explore the deployment of nuclear instrumentation detectors in the reactor core of newcleo’s Small Modular Reactor demonstrator.

Lead fast reactor overview. newcleo source. Image Credit: Exosens

newcleo’s reactor design has been optimised over the last 20 years leading to the concept of an ultra-compact and transportable 200MWe module with improvements in energy density compared to other technologies. 
The company is designing and building the next generation (Generation IV) of nuclear reactors: a lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) fuelled with Mixed OXide (MOX) that will effectively close the nuclear fuel cycle, using what is today considered waste, as fuel. 
The reactor design developed by newcleo was selected as part of the “Innovative Nuclear Reactors” call for projects under the France 2030 investment plan.

newcleo will contribute to climate change mitigation and global decarbonation. The nuclear player is combining available and proven technologies with new developments to create a sustainable business and deliver a new generation of safe, clean, more efficient reactors at competitive cost. 

Ludovic Vandendriesche (Managing Director of newcleo SA) said:

“We are pleased to be teaming up with Photonis - this important partnership will allow us to explore how best to incorporate cutting-edge detection instrumentation at the heart of our reactor design. We have an ambitious R&D timeline to realise what is a game-changing concept in low-carbon generation and the components provided by Photonis alongside their technical expertise will play a valuable role in our development work.”

Cyril Barre’s testimony (General manager of Exosens Nuclear Instrumentation business unit):

“We are delighted to announce that Photonis and newcleo have signed their first contract to define the best fitted customized solution for the nuclear instrumentation of innovative lead-cooled fast reactors. Thereby, newcleo’s projects expand the ability of nuclear reactor technology to decarbonize the economy in sectors including and beyond electricity generation. The LFR technology operates at higher temperatures than conventional reactors – thus generating electricity more efficiently and without emissions – for which Photonis can bring solutions thanks to its long-lasting experience at such operating conditions. “

Photonis has been manufacturing neutron detectors such as proportional counters with boron deposits and fission chambers with uranium deposits for more than 50 years for monitoring neutron fluxes in nuclear reactor cores.
Photonis’ detectors are renowned for their precision, reliability, and long operating life, making them the ideal choice for a project as groundbreaking as newcleo’s LFR concept. 

With their high level of knowledge, Photonis’ engineers will continue to contribute to overcoming the limits of science and work towards making tomorrow’s clean energy a reality!

This first step not only marks a significant achievement for both Photonis and newcleo, but also signifies a crucial milestone in the global pursuit of cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions.


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