Post Irradiation Examination
Post-Irradiation Examination (PIE) Facilities
Handling Facilities and Hot Cells
The reactor containment building is equipped with an overhead polar crane with 20-ton and 3-ton hooks. These cranes are used for installations and removals of in-core and other experiments. A variety of shielded transfer casks are also available for transfers. There are two hot cells in the reactor hall. The larger cell is generally used for handling and disassembly of full-height in-core experiments. This cell is accessible for installation of custom fixturing required for particular experiments. The smaller cell is used to handle small, high activity components and fuel from in-core experiments. A collimated gamma scan facility can be installed in the small cell. The reactor spent fuel pool is also available for storage, handling and packaging of irradiated experiments. Shipping casks up to the GE2000 can be loaded dry or wet.
Experiment disassembly in MITR
Left to right: Water loop experiment in transport cask; Hot Cell
Hot Sample Preparation Facilities
Laboratory space is available within the reactor exclusion area (outside the containment building) with two standard fume hoods and an inert-atmosphere 4-port glove box with furnace, which is capable of handling FliBe and other molten salts. A ventilated hot box with manipulators is located in this laboratory and is available for specialized PIE activities requiring more shielding than can be installed in the fume hoods. Standard metallurgical sample preparation (epoxy mounting, sectioning, polishing, and coating) can be carried out on activated samples.
Helium-filled glove box with high-temperature furnace
Microscopy and Measurement Facilities
A Phenom XL Desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM), equipped with an energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) detector is available. Macro-photography, optical microscopy, optical profilometry, and optical micrometry of irradiated specimens are also available.
Non-dedicated facilities at MIT can be used for microscopy of radioactive samples. The instruments available in the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering Central Facility are described here. Use of these facilities for irradiated materials is subject to dose limits and approvals from MIT’s Radiation Protection Office. In some cases, dedicated sample holders may be required to reduce the probability of contamination of shared equipment.
Other equipment available for use with radioactive materials includes mechanical test machines, a xenon-flash thermal diffusivity instrument, gamma spectrometers, a liquid scintillation counter, and tritium storage and transport measurement system.
To measure samples using outside equipment, please contact the NRL's Head of Irradiation Engineering, David Carpenter.