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Research Areas

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fission is the splitting apart of the nucleus of an atom. By carefully controlling this process at an industrial scale, we can harness large quantities of energy released to generate electricity for the benefit of society as a whole.

Nuclear science and technology has also other applications. For example, radiation is used extensively in medical diagnostic and therapeutic practices, such as imaging (e.g. X-rays), cancer radiotherapy or radioactive tracers.

Most radioisotopes and radio-pharmaceuticals are produced in nuclear reactors, which may also serve as research facilities.


What research is needed?

The use of nuclear technology in the EU has an outstanding nuclear safety record but research is still needed to:

  • maintain a high level of safety in operating nuclear facilities, including the treatment and long-term management of associated radioactive waste
  • better understand the risks and hazards associated with the use of radiation in medicine and industry


Nuclear research in the EU

Research at European level is funded through Euratom Research and Training Programmes.

Fission research actions cover:

  • safety of nuclear systems
  • safe long-term management of radioactive waste
  • development and sustainability of nuclear expertise and excellence in the EU
  • risks of low and protracted exposure to ionising radiation, including in medical applications
  • research infrastructures and education and training

Since 1994 more than 800 research projects have been funded under the Fourth (1994-1998), Fifth (1998-2002), Sixth (2002-2006) and Seventh (2007–2013) Framework Programmes.

Today, research continues under the current Euratom research and training programme.



Success Stories

Nuclear issues: who decides?

PhotoAn EU-funded project has empowered local communities and stakeholders in radioactive waste disposal decision-making.Read more

Collaborative platforms and associations

These associations bring together industry, academia and national research and safety organisations to plan and carry out research more strategically.