Research in nuclear physics as well as the application of the nuclear methods in a wide range of fields has traditional bases at the Institute of Experimental Physics, University of Debrecen, Hungary. Many highly reputable scientists and university lecturers has worked here since the early 1950’s to establish as well as to continuously develop the hardware and software background of basic research and applications.
From the mid-1960's a very close connection has been established between the Institute and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the following fields: solution of current scientific and technical problems, education of scientists from developing countries, sending senior experts to the laboratories of those countries.
Since the early years of the commissioning of the reactor units at Nuclear Power Plant, Paks, Hungary, methods have been developed and applied to increase the nuclear safety. Among these, in-situ gamma-spectrometry (to investigate corrosion/erosion/inhermeticity problems in the primary circuits) proved to be the most useful.
The Institute regularly applied these techniques at Paks NPP from 1985 on resulting in 90 successful missions. All 4 units were/are analyzed by the in-situ method performed after the reactor unit is shutdown.
IAEA, in the frame of the OSART program, declared that this method is a significant improvement and classified it as a “ good practice “.
In the beginning of the 1990’s the precise, reliable and unique activity of the Institute was discovered by Quantec Technologies GmbH, Vienna, Austria. This enterprise has realized the possibilities in the international fields and a connection, later a close cooperation has been created between the two parties. From that time on, Quantec has played a significant role in the history of the Institute’s activity in the field of measurements at NPP, Paks. To meet the international needs, Quantec, together with the Institute, further developed the in-situ gamma-spectrometry method in the field of scanning technique. Based on this result several successful measurements were carried out by Quantec at Biblis NPP, Germany between 1995-2000. The successful and close cooperation of Quantec and the Institute was the basis to take part in Quantec’s data evaluation project for Paks NPP.
After an incident at Paks NPP in 2003, Quantec participated in the program of the Recovery and Restart Project in 2003/2004 providing detailed analytical investigations and results on the uranium/transuranium isotopes, fission products and corrosion material content of the compartments in the primary circuits. Some of the techniques were devised and first applied at a NPP by Quantec.
Further measurements were performed in 2005 in the Revision Pool No.1 of Block 2, where the broken fuel assemblies could be found. For this action a special measurement technique had to be developed. Two, so called, U-boats were planned, manufactured and applied to determinate the radioactive contamination in underwater environments by using in-situ gamma spectrometry measurements with success. On the other hand, as an other new method, in-situ alpha spectrometry was also used to investigate the presence of uranium/transuranium nuclei.
In 2004 the next step on the route to create a common laboratory was, when Quantechnologies Research and Development Ltd, Debrecen, Hungary was founded. Finally, the Nuclear Safety and Techniques Laboratory and International Competence Centre - as the workshop of Quantechnologies Ltd. - was born from the University of Debrecen and Quantechnologies Ltd., as ”parents”, supported by the National Office for Research and Technology (NKTH) in July 2005.