Dragon ProjectDocuments from 01 April 1959 to 31 March 1976
Commonly christened by ENEA the "Dragon Project", it was launched in 1959 at the Winfrith Heath nuclear research establishment of the United Kingdom, after the Steering Committee of Agency invited top level specialists in nuclear science and engineering from its Members and Associate countries and from EURATOM Commission to examine the most practical and fruitful methods of collaboration in the field of an experimental and prototype reactor. The main goal of the Dragon Project was the construction and the exploitation of an advanced type of high-temperature gas cooled reactor.
The Dragon Project got under way in accordance with the Dragon Agreement which came into force on 1 April 1959 for a period that was envisaged to be 5 years, but this was subsequently extended to 7 years.
The participating countries referred to as the "signatories" were as follows: The UK Atomic Energy Authority, Austrian Federal Chancellery, The Danish Atomic Energy Commission, the Commissio of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM ), Institutt for Atomenergi, Norway, Aktiebolaget Atomenergi in Stockholm, and the Government of the Swiss Confederation. Signatories decided to contribute technically and financially in such work on the basis of the draft Programme contained in Annex A to this Agreement. The carrying out of the Joint Programme was legally performed on behalf of the Signatories by the UK Atomic Energy Authority referred to as the Authority.
The project was also subject to the OEEC Security Control Convention which is designed to ensure that joint undertakings established under the aegis of ENEA cannot further any military purposes. An International Board of Management was responsible for determining the annual programme and the budget, appointing the Chief Executive and approving the principal research and building contracts as well as the conditions of service of staff. The Board of Management was assisted by the General Purposes Committee which was made up of senior technical specialisets from the Signatories and the ENEA. There were three divisions: A research and devlopment division, an engineering division and an administrative division. The abrupt ending of the Dragon project was criticised by all participating counrties and was due to a financial dispute on the funding for an extension.
The Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy took note of the termination of the Dragon Project at its meeting 29 April 1976.