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Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
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Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute


The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), which was established in 1959, is the first science and technology research institute in Korea to be mandated to achieve energy self-reliance through nuclear technology. Since its inception, KAERI has played a leading role in the advancement of science and technology, as well as national economic growth, by producing landmark achievements during its 50-year history of nuclear energy development.

KAERI, the nation's sole multidisciplinary nuclear R&D institute, will not be complacent regarding its achievements thus far, and will instead move toward the future. In line with the Long-Term Development Plan for Future Nuclear Energy Systems, which has been implemented as a national policy, KAERI is concentrating all of its efforts on the development of spent fuel technology for reutilization purposes and on future nuclear energy systems that feature significant advancements in safety, economics, and proliferation resistance. Departing from the bulwark of national security , KAERI will serve as a cornerstone in developing nuclear energy as a new economic growth engine by placing its priorities on the export of research reactors and the integral reactor SMART, as well as the development of core technologies for large-scale commercial nuclear power plants.

KAERI is indebted to the public for its support over the past 50 years, which has enabled the institute to develop to its current status. The staff members at KAERI are deeply appreciative for the support and strive to produce world-leading nuclear R&D outcomes, and to concentrate our efforts toward maximizing our research capabilities. KAERI will spearhead efforts to help Korea achieve its national agenda of sustainable development and low carbon green growth by counteracting the environmental degradation and resource depletion that face us in the 21st century.


System-Integrated Modular Advanced ReacTor

KAERI is developing a System-Integrated Modular Advanced ReacTor (SMART) by combining innovative safety features and its own original technologies with proven LWR technologies. SMART has substantially enhanced the safety of its major components, such as the reactor core, steam generator, coolant pump, and pressurizer, which are integrated within a single pressure vessel. SMART can serve dual purposes for seawater desalination and electricity generation. Thus, SMART can supply energy and water simultaneously to large industrial areas or isolated areas such as islands.

Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor

Generation-IV nuclear reactors need to meet the technological goals of environmental friendliness, efficient uranium resource utilization, improved economics and enhanced safety, and proliferation resistance. The Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) is the most technologically developed of the six Generation-IV systems. The primary mission for an SFR is the management of high-level waste, and SFRs can reduce the radiotoxicity of high-level radioactive wastes by a factor of about 1,000. SFRs can also increase the use of natural uranium by a factor of 100.

Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor

The Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (VHTR) is a Generation-IV reactor that can be used to produce massive hydrogen, a future clean energy carrier, in a clean, safe and economical way, by using high temperature heat above 900°C. Hydrogen production using the VHTR is technology-led and thus, will contribute to the energy self-reliance of our nation, which lacks abundant natural resources. Nuclear hydrogen will be supplied as a fuel for vehicles and fuel cells, which will be used in the realization of an environment-friendly town in the future.


Research Reactor Management

In 1995, KAERI launched HANARO, a multi-purpose research reactor with world-class high neutron flux, and has continued to make every possible effort to safely and effectively operate it. KAERI is making considerable efforts to install new equipment, in addition to refurbishing the facility , while strengthening efforts to provide the support activities to meet the ever-growing needs of HANARO's users.

Research Reactor Engineering

KAERI is involved in the development, application, analysis and evaluation of the engineering technologies of the research reactors and related experimental facilities. Research currently being performed includes the development of research reactors with excellent performance, safety and economic feasibility for the global market; neutron irradiation experiments; and the development of new experimentation techniques to carry out comprehensive performance tests on materials and fuels. These research areas provide important design data for the development of next-generation reactor technology.

Research Reactor Utilization Technology

KAERI is utilizing HANARO in scientific and technological areas where other scientific approaches are impossible to understand. Using the high flux of HANARO, scientists and researchers can understand the micro structure of materials, develop new materials and pharmaceuticals, and can enhance the safety level of structural materials used in the industry.

Radioisotope Application Research

KAERI is supplying radioisotopes and their application technologies, which have been utilized in various areas at home and abroad. Currently, KAERI-produced RIs are used for medicine, industry, agriculture and life sciences.


Thermal-Hydraulic Safety

KAERI is carrying out thermal-hydraulic safety research, which is a prerequisite for reactor safety. Thermal-hydraulic safety research investigates the major thermal-hydraulic phenomena, demonstrates the safety performance of major systems and components of nuclear power plants, and applies them to design and safety evaluations. By thoroughly studying a variety of thermal-hydraulic phenomena and safety characteristics, we are preparing for the abnormalities or accidents that might happen in a nuclear reactor.

Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA)

KAERI is developing probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) technology for large-scale complexes such as nuclear power plants and chemical plants, and supplying its own related technologies to regulatory bodies and nuclear industries. KAERI has exported the developed PSA tools and related technologies to the USA and other countries.

PHWR Safety Analysis Research

For realistic safety analysis of commercially operating CANDU reactors, we are developing a self-reliant lattice code (WIMS/CANDU), improving the fuel channel analysis methodology using the CATHENA code, and performing 3 dimensional CFD analysis. Furthermore, our works deal with safety issues associated with an aged core and inquiries from the plant site.

Environmental Radiation Technology

KAERI is making efforts to harmonize nuclear energy and the environment with advanced radiation protection technologies. KAERI is also conducting research on an environmental assessment around nuclear facilities to secure nuclear safety. Nuclear Environmental research aimed at protecting humans and the environment from radiation is a prerequisite for ensuring a continuous utilization of nuclear energy.


Pyroprocess Technology

KAERI is focusing its efforts on the development of pyroprocess technology, which separates and refines various nuclear materials contained in spent fuels with an electrochemical method at a high temperature. Utilization of this technology can substantially reduce the volume and temperature of spent fuels discharged from nuclear power plants, and the separated and refined materials can be used in fast reactors.

Direct Use of Spent PWR Fuel in CANDU Reactors (DUPIC)

KAERI is developing environment-friendly nuclear fuel cycle technology, with which spent PWR fuels are refabricated and reused in CANDU reactors. Utilization of this technology, called the "direct use of a spent PWR fuel in CANDU reactors" (DUPIC), can substantially reduce the ever increasing volume of spent fuels and help save on natural uranium resources.


Radiation Food Technology & Agriculture

KAERI is in the process of developin g high value-added foods and biomaterials through the fusion of radiation technology and food technology, and contributing to the establishment of hygiene (sterilization) technology of food, medical apparatus, and medicinal herbs. Furthermore, KAERI is developing new plant genetic resources and cultivars with the use of mutation breeding technology to gain competitiveness in bioresource security.

Radiation Biotechnology

KAERI is working to contribute to strengthening the international competitiveness of the bioindustry of Korea by developing high value-added bio products, through the production process of biomaterials, and through the medical and industrial application of radiogenomics.

Radiation Industry & Environment

Using radiation, KAERI is also developing the manufacturing technology for various functional materials for industrial applications and is helping to solve environmental problems, such as those associated with wastewater and air pollution. Radiation industry technology is contributing to the development of advanced science and industry in the fields of polymer, electronics, aerospace, automotive, and defense.


KAERI is endeavoring to create next-generation growth engines by synthesizing advanced nuclear technologies and innovative, cutting-edge technologies. We are vigorously pursuing high power proton accelerator development, laser optics research and nuclear fusion research.


Jong Kyung Kim is the president of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). Prior to his current appointment on January 27, 2014, he was, since 1987, a professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department at Hanyang University in Korea and has over 25 years of professional experience in the field of nuclear reactor core analysis and radiation safety. He has published more than 100 articles in leading academic SCI journals. He is a founding father of the International Symposium on Radiation Safety and Detection Technology (ISORD). From 2001-2007, he had the particular responsibility for the preparation of the National Promotion Plan for the Utilization of Radiation and Radioisotopes in Korea.