Hot Cell Laboratory

Hot Cell Laboratory

The hot cell laboratory has 24 shielded hot cells where up to 1 million curies can be handled including 2 decontamination cells.  Most of the cells are equipped with an alpha tight stainless steel containment, a so-called caisson, and each also has a replacement caisson for each cell. The advantage of this concept is to allow a cell renovation with a minimum downtime, with the replacement caisson able to be re-equipped and tested, while the "old" caisson is still self-contained and in operation.


See each activity below a a list of methods;

Post Irradiation Examination of Nuclear Fuel

NDT, puncturing, X-ray radiography
Microscopes: light, SEM, TEM etc
EPMA, SIMS, laser ablation ICP-MS for elemental analysis
Annealing furnaces (1500-2500 °C) in various atmospheres 
Special annealing furnace (KÜFA) for coated gas cooled reactor fuel
µ x-ray diffraction
High temperature µ-indentor
Acoustic probe for porosity measurement
µ-gamma scanning
hydrogen determination in irradiated cladding by hot inert gas extraction
Burst and creep testing furnaces
High Resolution ICP-MS 
radiometric techniques including alpha- and gammaspectrometry and liquid scintillation counting
Revaporisation facility for aerosol deposit analysis 


Spent Fuel Characterization in View of Long Term Intermediate and Final Storage
Electrochemical cells to study the corrosion behavior partly combined with surface analytical techniques such as XPS 
Special techniques (e.g. electrochemical noise) used to detect extremely slow corrosion
Quartz micro-balance to measure corrosion rates in the sub-ng range
Flow-through reactors  to study the leaching behavior under  dynamic conditions with on-line Eh measurement 
ICPMS, radiometric techniques (alpha-, gamma-spectroscopy, liquid scintillation counting) for chemical analysis
Oxidation furnaces to determine the fuel oxidation 
X-ray for intermediate oxidation testing


Reprocessing & Separation of actinides from irradiated fuels and targets 
Centrifugal contactor battery for continuous counter-current extraction
Hollow fiber module to optimze extraction efficiency
titration equipment for acidity determination
Chemical Analysis: ICP MS radiometric techniques etc.
Hot cell for pyroreprocessing under pure Ar atmosphere equipped with:
  • electrorefiner
  • molten salt
  • molten metal extractors 
  • chlorination device
Double glove box to study basic thermodynamic data of actinides in molten salts 
Glove box to study the conversion of oxide fuel into metals
Glove box to study room temperature ionic liquids


Mechanical workshops, specialized in manipulator maintenance, provide the necessary technical support for the laboratory.

A large varity of techniques are available for various research programmes with the Hot Cell Laboratory.



Science Areas