The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has decided to close its FiR 1 nuclear reactor in Espoo. The reason is that the reactor, which is used in research and teaching, is costing VTT too much, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy said on 12 July.
For the past 10 years FiR 1 has been used mainly for neutron capture therapy cancer therapy and related research. The therapy stopped when the provider of the service, Boneca, declared bankruptcy in January 2012.
Boneca’s owners—VTT, the Clinical Research Institute Helsinki University Central Hospital (HYKS) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra—have tried to find a new service provider. But the search has been unsuccessful, and VTT will be closing the reactor as soon as possible.
The research reactor started operating in 1962. Aalto University and Lappeenranta University of Technology have used the reactor for teaching purposes, as has the International Atomic Energy Agency. VTT was granted the operating license in 1972. The license cannot be transferred until it expires in 2023.
The closure will not affect any of VTT’s programmes, as none currently use the reactor.