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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
JRC-ITU are pleased to announce that fellow researchers Luca Capriotti and Andrea Quaini have been recognised with an award for their joint master thesis "High temperature behaviour of nuclear materials investigated by laser heating and fast pyrometry".
The Fondazione Don Bartolomeo Grazioli Martire di Belfiore master thesis award for the physical sciences was issued from the Lombardy Institute, Academy of Sciences & Literature Milano, Italy as part of its annual science awards for 2012/2013.
The work was performed in collaboration between the Politecnico di Milano, under the supervision of Prof. Lelio Luzzi, and the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU), under the supervision of Konstantinos Boboridis and Dario Manara. The experimental part of the investigation was performed in 8 months during Luca and Andrea's traineeship at JRC-ITU from May 2011 until December 2011. Using ITU’s innovative method of laser heating coupled with fast pyrometry, the two researchers acquired data that were used to reassess the high-temperature phase diagram of the UO2-ThO2 system. In order to better understand the effect of the optical semi-transparency of ThO2 on the measurement results, they also studied other so-called “white oxides” of interest, namely CaO and CeO2. The melting behaviour of CaO, in particular, was studied under reducing and oxidising conditions for the first time, showing that the large discrepancy found in literature may actually be due to the influence of the environment in which the measurements are performed. Finally, Luca and Andrea spent a significant amount of their time at ITU performing an extensive pyrometer calibration campaign, using both standard light sources, as well as the melting temperatures of several refractory metals as secondary reference points.
As of January 2013, Luca has returned to ITU as a Ph.D. fellow and is working on the “Post-irradiation characterisation of metallic nuclear fuel” under the supervision of Dimitrios Papaioannou and Vincenzo Rondinella. Andrea is pursuing a Ph.D. working at the CEA in Saclay, France, on a “Thermodynamic study of the U-Zr-O-Fe-Si-Ca system” and, in particular, its application to the interaction between corium and concrete during a severe nuclear reactor accident, under the supervision of Christine Guéneau and Stéphane Gossé. Andrea’s academic thesis adviser is Prof. Fiqiri Hodaj of the Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP).