Joint Research Centre - European Commission

JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE
The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Research facilities

The JRC has a wide range of laboratories and unique research facilities at its disposal. They make it a valuable partner in many research fields and through numerous collaborations, access to many facilities is granted to scientists from partner organisations.

Some examples:

European Laboratory for Structural Assessment

High Flux Reactor

GELINA neutron time-of-flight facility

Van de Graaff accelerator

Vehicle Emission Laboratory (VELA) 

European Laboratory for Structural Assessment - ELSA

European Laboratory for Structural Assessment at IPSC in Ispra (IT)

European Laboratory for Structural Assessment at IPSC in Ispra (IT)

The core of the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment at the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen is the Reaction-Wall facility. It consists of an extremely stiff vertical wall and a horizontal floor, made of reinforced concrete, rigidly connected together. By means of computer controlled hydraulic actuators mounted on the reaction-wall, is it possible to expose full scale structures to loads of dynamic strong forces and control the resulting movements with high precision. The wall and the floor are designed to resist the forces, typically several MN, which are necessary to deform and seriously damage the full-scale test models of structures. The ELSA reaction-wall is the largest facility of its kind in Europe and one of the largest in the World - only exceeded in Japan.

In addition to static and cyclic tests on large structures and components, ELSA has particularly developed the so-called pseudo-dynamic test (PSD) technique, which enables the simulation of earthquake loading of full-scale buildings.

High Flux Reactor

High Flux Reactor at IET in Petten (NL)

High Flux Reactor at IET in Petten (NL) at dusk.

The 45 MW High Flux Reactor (HFR) at the Institute for Energy and Transport is one of the most powerful multi-purpose research and test reactors in Europe. Activities at the HFR include:

  • nuclear fission and fusion energy research;
  • providing neutron beams for analytical applications (e.g., neutron activation analysis, neutron radiography) and further research (solid state physics, materials science, medical therapy);
  • producing radioisotopes for scientific, industrial and medical purposes.

GELINA neutron time-of-flight facility

GELINA flight paths

GELINA flight paths

Interaction of neutrons with matter is of great importance when evaluating the safety and risks related to operation of nuclear power plants, nuclear waste management, or new concepts of nuclear power production. Smaller uncertainties in the neutron cross section data can result in enhanced safety of the present and future plants. The JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) is equipped with a unique scientific infrastructure for accurate neutron data measurements.

Among the pulsed white spectrum neutron sources available in the world, the linear electron accelerator facility at the IRMM is the one with the best time resolution. GELINA combines four specially designed and distinct units: a high-power pulsed linear electron accelerator, a post-accelerating beam compression magnet system, a mercury-cooled uranium target, and very long flight paths.

The up to 400 m long flight paths, symmetrically arranged around the uranium target, lead to experimental locations at distances of 10, 30, 50, 60, 100, 200, 300 and 400 m. These experimental stations are equipped with a variety of sophisticated detectors, and data acquisition and analysis systems. GELINA is a multi-user facility serving up to 12 different experiments simultaneously. The facility is operated in shift work on a 24 hours/day basis, for about 100 hours per week.

Van de Graaff accelerator

JRC-IRMM: Van de Graaff accelerator

JRC-IRMM: Van de Graaff accelerator© EC (2007)

Operating in a different energy domain than GELINA, the 7 MV Van de Graaff facility is an electrostatic accelerator for the production of continuous and pulsed proton-, deuteron- and helium ion beams. Six beam lines and experimental set-ups are attached to the accelerator. Quasi mono-energetic neutrons in the energy region 0 - 24 MeV are produced by using lithium, deuterium or tritium targets.

The IRMM Van de Graaff facility houses six experimental set-ups in two large laboratory halls. The accelerator is operated 24 hours a day and seven days a week and it provides a stable neutron field for more than a week without interruption. Neutron fluxes and neutron energy spectra are monitored and characterised with high precision by long counters, proportional counters, BF3 counters, Bonner spheres, time-of-flight systems, fission chambers and activation foils. Absolute neutron fluencies are measured using a calibrated recoil proton telescope. Several shadow cones are available for measurements of possible neutron scattering.

 

Vehicle Emission Laboratory (VELA)

Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (VELA)

Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (VELA)

The Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (VELA) at the JRC Institute for Energy and Transport (IET), equipped with the most advanced facilities and instrumentation, allows the physical/chemical and toxicological characterization of the emissions from all types of transport fleet. Tests are conducted on engines, from small hand-held to large heavy-duty engines, and on full vehicles as mopeds, motorbikes, passenger cars, 4WD cars and small trucks ...(more).