Material Irradiations Research

  • Low and high dose irradiation capacity
  • Decades of experience with wide range of structural materials
  • Extensive post-irradiation analysis capabilities in Hot Cell Laboratory

We generate data to establish safe and economical application of materials in current and future nuclear reactors.

About material irradiations research

Performance of structural materials under irradiation is critical to the safe and economic operation of current and future nuclear reactors. NRG has decades of experience on performing materials irradiations over a range of flux and temperature conditions. Through irradiations in the High Flux Reactor and characterization of materials in the Hot Cell Laboratories, data is generated to support:

  • Life time management of currently operating reactors
  • Qualification of materials for new build reactors
  • Screening and development of new materials for advanced (Gen IV) reactors

Typical activities that we carry out in our daily work are:

  • Design and build irradiation facilities 100% in-house
  • Irradiation under stable neutron flux and spectrum conditions
  • Development of sensors for in-situ monitoring of parameters such as: gas flow, gas composition, temperature, strain, sample dimensions
  • Examination and characterization of irradiated specimens in shielded facilities, e.g.: Mechanical testing, Microstructural characterization, Physical characterization

Reactor life time management

Lifetime management of nuclear reactors requires knowledge of the aging mechanisms of its components. Material properties of reactor components are affected in particular by the effect of neutron irradiation and other environmental conditions.

NRG performs irradiations in the HFR to study the aging mechanisms of reactor materials.  Characterization of the irradiated specimens is then performed in the Hot Cell Laboratories. The data that is acquired from these irradiation programs are used to assess the safe and economic performance of nuclear reactors.

Examples of NRG’s irradiation programs with a focus on the aging mechanisms of reactor materials are:

  • Nuclear graphite irradiations to support lifetime extension of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) in the U.K. 
  • Mechanical and microstructural testing of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) materials irradiated to high fluence 
Project BLACKSTONE: Life Time Extension for EDF
Material Irradiation
Material Irradiation

Qualification and development of structural materials

The nuclear industry is challenged to operate reactors that are safe and economic to increasingly higher standards. Use is made of innovative materials and production techniques to meet these challenges. In order to select the best materials and demonstrate adequate irradiation performance, irradiation testing is performed.

NRG uses the High Flux Reactor and the Hot Cell Laboratory facilities to test materials and components that are designed for nuclear fission and fusion applications. Qualification and screening data are provided to give input to reactor design processes and demonstrate applicability of materials with high confidence.

Examples of NRG’s irradiation programs with a focus on the qualification and development of reactor materials are:

  • ITER fusion reactor materials/component irradiation testing in collaboration with other leading nuclear institutes 
  • Qualification of nuclear graphite of the Terrestrial Energy Inc. Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR)
Qualification of First Wall Panels

More information about Material Irradiation Research?

We're happy to help. Please contact our nuclear fuels and materials team and we will be in touch.

Team Nuclear Fuels & Materials
Material Irradiation Team Irradiations 640X640