Work has started on the realisation of the construction pit for the PALLAS-reactor. Using special excavation techniques, so-called diaphragm walls are being placed into which the concrete will then be poured. PALLAS Programme Director Peter Dijk had the honor of giving the starting signal for the first pour: ,,With this we are taking another big step towards being able to start building the new PALLAS-reactor. Now that all the necessary permits are in place, we can proceed with the realisation of the construction pit in which the PALLAS-reactor will be built.” The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and the construction pit will be ready for the next phase, the actual construction of the reactor.
To realise the construction pit, a hole will be dug about 50 meters by 50 meters and 21 meters deep, this will be done in several stages. To do this, one-and-a-half-meter-wide trenches are dug into which concrete is poured to realise the diaphragm walls. The diaphragm walls will be anchored, within these walls 380 bored piles will be placed, after which the soil will be excavated and underwater concrete (concrete bottom of the construction pit) will be poured to hold the empty pit in place, and later to base the reactor on. This work will be carried out by BESIX. The contractor contracted by PALLAS in November 2022.
Every day, 30,000 patients depend on the production of medical radioisotopes from Petten in North Holland. This number is expected to increase due to the introduction of new treatments with medical isotopes from reactors and the growth in the number of patients with cancer and cardiovascular diseases worldwide. PALLAS has therefore taken the initiative to build the PALLAS-reactor in Petten. Obtaining the permits is an important milestone in the realisation of the reactor.
The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport has instructed PALLAS not to take irreversible steps but in the meantime to continue with the preparations of the project to avoid unnecessary delays. This means that preparations for the realisation of the construction pit will continue pending a final financing decision from the Dutch government and state aid approval from the European Commission. The official letter from the minister can be accessed here.