Post-Irradiation Examination

NSUF offers researchers access to a broad range of post-irradiation examination facilities. The user guides for each of these facilities provide detail on the capabilities offered.


Idaho National Laboratory

Hot Fuel Examination Facility (HFEF) is a large alpha-gamma hot cell facility dedicated to remote examination of highly irradiated fuel and structural materials. Its capabilities include nondestructive and destructive examinations. The facility also offers a 250 kWth Training Research Isotope General Atomics (TRIGA) reactor used for neutron radiography to examine internal features of fuel elements and assemblies.

The Analytical Laboratory (AL) is dedicated to analytical chemistry of irradiated and radioactive materials. It offers National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)-traceable chemical and isotopic analysis of irradiated fuel and material via a wide range of spectrometric techniques.

The Electron Microscopy Laboratory (EML) is dedicated to materials characterization, primarily using transmission electron, scanning electron and optical microscopy. The EML also houses a dual-beam FIB that allows examination and small-sample preparation of radioactive materials. 

The Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking (IASCC) Facility test cell houses two autoclaves outfitted with Instron, servohydraulic actuators and capable of simulating Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Normal and Hydrogen water chemistries as well as Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) environments using a closed loop, recirculating chemistry control system, and an autoclave to enclose test specimens within the environment. 

INL PIE User Guide 


Center for Advanced Energy Studies

The Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) is equipped to handle low-level radiological samples as well as nonradiological samples. MaCS offers several high-end pieces of equipment, including a Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP), Spark Plasma Sintering System, Automated Hardness Tester, Scanning Electron Microscope, Nano Indenter Atomic Force Microscope, Transmission Electron Microscope, and Focused Ion Beam. CAES website





North Carolina State University

Post-irradiation examination capabilities at NCSU's Nuclear Services Laboratories include: Positron Intense Beam Facility and Defect Analysis Lab (including slow beam based Positron and Positronium Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy (PALS) systems with Doppler Broadening Spectroscopy (DBS) capabilities and bulk sample Na-22 PALS, Neutron Powder Diffraction and Microstructure Analysis Lab, neutron imaging, and neutron activation analysis. NCSU Nuclear Services Laboratories Users Guide





Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ORNL's hot cells and radiological laboratories offer a wide variety of R&D and production capabilities from radiochemistry and isotope packaging to materials testing to irradiated fuels examination. Facilities include the Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing (IMET) facility, Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL) and Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC). The Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis (LAMDA) Laboratory, added in 2012, offers post-irradiation examination capabilities including refractory element test stands for tensile testing, optical and scanning electron microscopes, and thermal diffusivity and density measurement equipment. For more information, view the ORNL PIE Users Guide




Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Radiochemistry Processing Laboratory (RPL) and the Materials Science and Technology Laboratory (MSTL) offer a wide range of specialized equipment for handling and testing fuels and materials. Capabilities include experiment hardware design, fabrication and assembly, testing facilities for both nonradioactive and radioactive structural materials, and the advanced characterization of unirradiated and irradiated fuels and materials using instruments including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical microscopy. PNNL RPL & MSTL Users Guide




Purdue University

The IMPACT (Interaction of Materials with Particles and Components Testing) facility offers a wide range of spectroscopy techniques to study the surface of materials. The IMPACT facility houses a variety of examination instruments including low-energy scattering spectroscopy (LEISS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), auger electron spectroscopy (AES), extreme ultraviolet reflectometry (EUVR), extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photoelectron spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Purdue IMPACT Facility Users Guide





University of California, Berkeley

U.C. Berkeley's Nuclear Materials Laboratory provides several capabilities for examining irradiated material samples including a nano-indentation system for nano and microscale hardness testing at ambient and elevated temperature and inert environments, positron annihilation spectroscopy, and warm sample preparation (polishing, cutting, grinding and mounting). UCB User Guide





University of Michigan

The Irradiated Materials Complex provides laboratories and hot cells with capabilities for conducting high-temperature mechanical properties experiments and corrosion and stress corrosion cracking experiments on neutron irradiated materials in an aqueous environment, including supercritical water, and for characterizing the fracture surfaces after failure. UM User Guide



University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Post-irradiation examination capabilities at the Harry Reid Center Radiochemistry Laboratories include metallographic microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, Rietveld analysis, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, analytical transmission electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. UNLV User Guide





University of Wisconsin

The Characterization Laboratory for Irradiated Materials (CLIM) offers post-irradiation examination capabilities including scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy on neutron-irradiated materials. UW User Guide






Westinghouse

Westinghouse offers its Materials Center of Excellence Laboratories (MCOE) Hot Cell Facility and accompanying laboratories to provide experimental support to ATR-related nuclear energy materials research programs. The Westinghouse facilities in Churchill, Pennsylvania, are housed in four cells that provide a broad range of testing, evaluation and characterization capabilities for both unirradiated and irradiated materials. In-place capabilities include the ability to test under a variety of environments, an extensive mechanical testing laboratory, a specialized corrosion and stress corrosion cracking lab, and materials microstructure and chemical characterization instruments. Specialized facilities are also available to measure the radioactivity properties of materials under investigation as well as neutron and gamma sources facilities, which can be employed to assess materials' response to in-situ radiation. Westinghouse User Guide