The Netherlands Council of State has given the green light for the amended zoning plan of the municipality of Schagen, opening the way for construction of the Pallas reactor.

Pallas will be built to replace the ageing 45MW High Flux Reactor (HFR), which is operated by the Nuclear Research and
Consultancy Group (NRG) on behalf of the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The Pallas organisation, which was part of NRG until 2013, is now part of the Foundation Preparation Pallas Reactor, responsible for design and construction of the facility, and for developing a business case and arranging private financing for its construction and commissioning.

“This decision means that the zoning scheme now has become final and that Pallas can proceed with the application for further licences needed to realise construction of the reactor,” said Pallas CEO Hermen van der Lugt.

From 2025, Pallas will continue and expand the production of medical isotopes provided it completes other required licensing procedures.

In 2017, Pallas filed its request relating to a change in the zoning scheme, which included enlarging the existing nuclear zone and increasing the maximum allowed construction height. The documents were submitted along with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a landscape quality plan.

Four separate appeals had been lodged against the zoning scheme including two from local residents and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Dunes arguing that the new reactor and its facilities would affect both scenery and
environment, in part as a result of nitrogen emissions.

They alleged that the ecological investigation was incomplete. However, the Council of State ruled that the Pallas reactor
would not result in a significant negative impact on the environment. Its decision also noted the lack of available alternative production capacity.

In 2018, the Ichos consortium was selected to design and construct the Pallas reactor. The consortium includes Argentinean nuclear technology firm Invap, together with Croonwolter&dros and Mobilis, both part of TBI Holdings of the Netherlands.

The Pallas reactor will be a “tank-in-pool” type, with a thermal power of around 55MW. The design, construction and commissioning of the Pallas reactor will take about ten years and its lifetime will be at least 40 years. The costs for
the new reactor are estimated at €600-800 million ($670-890m).

Photo: Petten the site of the HFR (Credit: NRG)