Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) was established in 1963 for the joint use program among Japanese universities to promote the research and education in the fields of nuclear energy and radiation application. Two nuclear reactors, the Kyoto University research Reactor (KUR) and the Kyoto University Critical Assembly (KUCA), and related research facilities have been being used since then, and nowadays greater expectations are being put on the research and education activities at our institute for the issues of energy and environment and for the innovative applications of radiation.

Actually, the issues of energy and environment are becoming more and more serious in the 21st century. The worldwide demand for energy is remarkably increasing with the development of Asian and African nations, and moreover carbon dioxide emission limits are under consideration to conserve the global environment. Many issues thus queue up to be solved. Although the development and use of new energy sources such as solar batteries are pushed forward, those capacity is limited and insufficient. Therefore, the use of nuclear energy will continue. In our country with poor energy resources, it has been important to keep the stable energy supply, and the use of nuclear energy has been promoted. However it is now required to again ensure the safety of nuclear energy for its continuous use. As for the applications of radiation, in addition, various technologies have been established in combination with the development of nuclear energy use, and much more various and effective application technologies are expected to be realized in the fields such as medical care and materials development in the future.

In these situations, the importance of the research and education of nuclear energy in universities is recognized for personnel training from the viewpoint of a mid/long term, and greater expectations are being placed on the research and education activities using the research facilities with proper performances. To meet those expectations, it is necessary to operate the KUR as long as possible in our institute. Its significance and our responsibility are really large considering the use of such research facilities by students and researchers from all Japanese universities not only in the nuclear engineering field but also in various fields. In addition to the above activities, we have research activities in the fields of nuclear engineering science, material science, radiation life science, and radiation medical science. Basic and essential studies are being performed under the academic traditions of Kyoto University, of which results have been highly rated in a recent external evaluation. Based on these results, we are planning to further extend neutron utilization studies centering the KUR, and to promote essential studies on safe nuclear energy systems including nuclear fuel cycles and next generation reactors in perspective.

For a universities successful promotion of the research and education in, it is important and effective to jointly use the research facilities with proper performances in our institute. For this purpose, the KURRI continues the KUR and KUCA operation steadily, and makes efforts toward the realization of the “Kumatori Atom Science Park” concept, that is based on our future plan. We will perform our part of the joint use institution effectively for promotion of the research and education in universities, and will strengthen alliances with local residents, industries and government.

In closing, I would like to express my sincere thanks for the continuous support from the national and local governments, scientific communities and residents in the neighborhood of the KURRI.

Yuji Kawabata