HOTLAB 2015 Leuven, Belgium
September 27 - October 1, 2015

Technical visit

SCK•CEN is one of the largest research institutions in Belgium. As a foundation of public utility, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre conducts groundbreaking research into nuclear energy and ionising radiation for civilian use, and develops nuclear technologies for socially valuable purposes. We achieve this by means of independent, fundamental and applied research, and by providing advice, training, services and products.SCK•CEN incorporates various nuclear and non-nuclear laboratories.

Laboratory for high and medium level activity

The laboratory for high and medium level activity (LHMA) focuses on the effects of radioactive radiation on materials, for example the ageing processes in the pressure vessels of nuclear reactors or the effects of uranium fission in the reactor fuel. The laboratory has all the necessary infrastructure to handle highly radioactive substances safely, such as hot cells with mechanical robot arms. This lab contributes to the safety of existing nuclear reactors, to improving the efficiency of nuclear fuel and to the development of materials for new reactor types. We monitor how the constituent parts of current and future reactors behave in the long term in a radiation environment. The study of defective or intact fuel pins from reactors around the world is also one of the possibilities of this laboratory.

Radiochemical analyses

Many companies including nuclear power plants, producers of medical radioisotopes or radioactive waste and nuclear research installations ask us to conduct chemical and radiochemical analyses on their behalf. We have access to a wide range of equipment and chemical laboratories for the analysis of both low- and high-level radioactive samples. The facilities are equipped with fume cupboards, glove boxes and hot cells. Our extensive expertise built up over many years enables us to analyse the chemical and radiochemical composition of even the most complex materials and samples

Underground laboratory: HADES

In 1980, SCK•CEN started the construction of a laboratory in a deep clay layer at 225 meter below the site of the Research Centre in Mol. It was named HADES, after the God of the underworld in Greek mythology. Nowadays the HADES laboratory is managed by ESV EURIDICE, an economic partnership between SCK•CEN and ONDRAF/NIRAS. HADES enables us to conduct unique experiments in the clay layer deep underground, where SCK•CEN scientists investigate the chemical and microbiological properties of clay, how slow radioactive elements disperse in it and the speed at which potential waste packaging materials degrade. Combined with surface laboratory analyses we managed to chart the properties and behaviour of the clay.

Nuclear Systems Research

The Nuclear Systems Research expert group (NSR) comprises physicists, engineers and highly qualified technicians with expertise in the fields of nuclear physics, thermal-hydraulics, coolant chemistry, mechanics and electronics. NSR mainly provides the necessary R&D support for the development of the fast spectrum facility MYRRHA. It is also active in fundamental research with radioactive beams. Their main activities include :

  • Lead-Bismuth technology  development including component qualification, chemistry and thermo-hydraulics
  • Development and construction of experimental devices in support of liquid metal technology R&D
  • Nuclear instrumentation
  • Irradiation testing with on-line monitoring
  • Fundamental research with radioactive beams
  • Development of high power targets

Due to a limitation on the number of visitors a selection must be made between either

  • Visit to LHMA and Chemistry : for this visit a safety clearance is mandatory !
    Deadline for registration for this visit : June 1st 2015
  • Visit to Hades and Nuclear Systems Research