Norway investigates possible past misconduct in reactor projects

12 August 2019

Norway’s Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) said on 5 August that it is investigating alleged scientific misconduct in projects at the Halden Reactor.

“The information we have received concerns the possible alteration of research results in certain projects at the Halden Reactor several years ago. We take this matter very seriously and have initiated an externally led investigation, which is ongoing,” said IFE President Nils Morten Huseby.

All of the projects concerned were completed many years ago, and the situation has not posed any danger to health, environment or safety in Halden. The Halden Reactor was shut down in 2018, and the information emerged in connection with preparations for decommissioning the reactor.
IFE has advised relevant players and customers that may be impacted and said it will keep authorities and stakeholders informed. It is unlikely that IFE will be able to draw any final conclusions until the investigation has been completed.

“Scientific misconduct is unacceptable and in breach of IFE’s ethical principles," said Huseby. "We have deployed considerable resources and international expertise to the investigation, to ensure that all facts are disclosed. This will be a time-consuming process and we are still at an early stage."

Since 2016, IFE has made a significant effort to strengthen safety culture and improve processes and routines, Huseby added.

IFE had reported the matter as a possible serious breach of recognised research ethical norms to The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees and the Norwegian National Committee for investigating research misconduct, according to the provisions of the Act on Research Ethics.

IFE, at Kjeller and in Halden, was founded by the Norwegian government in 1948 and is now an independent foundation with both Norwegian and international customers, and with a turnover at about NOK1 billion ($122m) a year. It is one of Norway’s largest research institutes with about 600 employees representing 38 nationalities. Its research groups include renewable energy, digital systems, nuclear technology, health and industrial development.

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