Axel Pichlmaier heads international group of research reactors

Aktuell |

Dr. Axel Pichlmaier is the new head of the International Group of Research Reactors IGORR, which represents research reactor interests worldwide. The FRM II Technical Director and his new leadership team were elected at a meeting at the University of Maryland, USA. They aim to continue the work of predecessor Gilles Bignan and recruit more members, especially from Africa.

Dr. Axel Pichlmaier, Technical Director of the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) at the Technical University of Munich © Alessandra Schellnegger
The IGORR Chairmen (from left): Axel Pichlmaier (FRM II, Chairman), Gilles Bignan (CEA, previous Chairman), Sean O'Kelly (INL, new Vice-Chairman) © Danas Ridikas
The IGORR Steering Committee (from left): Jinwon Shin (KAERI, Korea), Nestor Masriera (INVAP, Argentina), Mark Summerfield (ANSTO, Australia), Chris Heysel (McMaster, Canada), Francois Huet (Technicatome, France), Christopher Bryan (ORNL, USA), Lin-Wen Hu (MITR, USA), Axel Pichlmaier (FRM II), Gilles Bignan (CEA, France), Sean O'Kelly (INL, USA), Ayman Hawari (NCSU, USA), Steven van Dyck (SCK CEN, Belgium), Masaji Arai (JAEA, Japan), Masahiro Hino (Kyoto University, Japan) and Danas Ridikas (IAEA). © Danas Ridikas

IGORR (International group on research reactors) is led by representatives of research reactors from more than a dozen countries, chaired by a representative elected from that group. At this year's meeting at the University of Maryland in the USA, Gilles Bignan of the French CEA, who had chaired the organization since 2009, resigned for reasons of age. Axel Pichlmaier was elected as his successor, and Sean O'Kelly from Idaho National Laboratory (INL), USA was elected as his deputy. "This positionoffice [1] is an honor and a challenge. Gilles has led it with superior knowledge and extraordinary commitment. The fact that the FRM II was elected shows its outstanding international standing," says Axel Pichlmaier.


Goal: Attract members from Africa

The new leadership team has set itself the goal not only of continuing this commitment, but also of inspiring other representatives of research reactors to participate. "Especially also from Africa, where some of the most modern and important research reactors in the world are located," says Pichlmaier. Incidentally, this is not the first time FRM II has been represented in the IGORR chairmanship: Already from 1996 to 2003, the then FRM II project leader, Prof. Dr. Klaus Böning, was chairman of IGORR.


Exchange at conferences

The members of IGORR met at the University of Maryland, USA, from June 19 to 22, 2023. The organization IGORR, acronym for "International group on research reactors" was founded inexists since the year 1989 and represents the research reactor community worldwide. According to the quote "No research reactor can operate in isolation from the rest of the world." (Douglas Selby, ORNL), IGORR's goal is to facilitate exchanges between institutions that operate research reactors or are developing new reactors and to assist existing ones in their further development. To this end, international conferences are held every 18 to 24 months, alternating in location between the Americas, Australia-Asia, and Europe. Conferences in the last ten years were held in 2012 Czech Republic, 2013 Korea, 2014 Argentina, 2016 Germany (Berlin), 2017 Australia, 2019 Jordan, and 2021 Russia (virtually).


200 participants

This year's conference was held in conjunction with the U.S. TRTR (National Organization of Test, Research and Training Reactors). It brought together nearly 200 operators of these facilities from around the world, representatives of U.S. regulatory agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and suppliers to share the latest trends and developments, as well as common challenges. The next meeting will be held in Mito, Japan, in June 2025.

More information:

International Group on Research Reactors (IGORR)