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Materials and Fuels Complex - Fuels and Applied Science Building Irradiation Suite
The Fuels and Applied Science Building (FASB) irradiation suite houses the CR2’s workhorse, a MDS Nordion Gammacell 220 Excel cobalt-60 gamma irradiator. Offering un-attenuated dose rates of ≤1 Gy s−1, the Gammacell facilitates investigation into the effects of gamma rays on a wide range of materials and chemical systems, e.g., spent nuclear fuel solvent extraction media, high temperature molten salts, and a variety of commercial and bespoke metal alloys used in current and future nuclear reactor designs.

​These activities are supported by a Cary 6000 UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometry, a bank of centrifugal contactors (CINC V-02, USA), and compressed gas cylinders regulated by an array of Sierra Instruments mass flow controllers. In addition to catering for standard radiation chemistry experiments, two unique capabilities are offered:

1. Irradiation of Sealed Radionuclide Solutions. One of the CR2’s niche research capabilities is the capacity to investigate the effects of ionizing radiation on solutions containing a wide range of radioactive elements, e.g., neptunium and americium. Understanding radiation-induced redox chemistry is critical for a complete fundamental understanding of the chemistry of radioactive elements, in addition to their speciation and mobility under environmental and industrial conditions.

2. Bespoke Radiolysis and Hydrolysis Test Loop. To support a global initiative into the development of advanced spent nuclear fuel reprocessing solvent system flowsheets, a bespoke test loop was designed and installed to evaluate the effects of gamma irradiation on the stability and performance of candidate solvent system formulations, under conditions more representative of industry, i.e., beyond the "benchtop." The U.S. test loop is made up of an irradiated volume contained in a borosilicate glass coil (∼75 feet in length, 0.375 inch outer diameter, 0.202 inch inner diameter), and an external stainless steel manifold, composed of a magnetic drive gear pump and a second stainless steel coil held in a temperature-controlled water bath to maintain loop solvent temperature. Although initially designed to validate the performance of new reprocessing schemes under extreme coupled conditions, the test loop is more than capable of accommodating other systems with potential for scale-up, for example Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) water treatment procedures.

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