Fuels, Reactors and Reprocessing

The Fuel, Reactors & Reprocessing capability consists of three teams providing technical support (commercial work, R&D, nuclear foresight & advice) to a wide range of customers including the UK government.

Post Irradiation Examination

The Post Irradiation Evaluation (PIE) team undertake measurements, experiments and assessments of materials focusing on design and operation of PIE equipment in high activity environments, examination of graphite core material, civil and defence fuel examination, preparation and analysis of metallography samples and endoscope examination at reactor stations.

This capability consists of ~50 people who collectively have over 100 years of experience in a variety of Post Irradiation Examination (PIE) techniques. The team is comprised of 5 main areas which are involved in the entire PIE process from underwater inspection of fuel in-pond, to non-destructive and destructive examination of nuclear fuel in-cave, together with the measurement of the graphite core material properties and other irradiated reactor components.

The team is primarily based at NNL’s Active Handling Facility at Windscale, which is supported by non-active work performed at NNL’s Workington Facility and an active rig hall at NNL Central Laboratory. Specially adapted equipment is used to undertake measurements, assess material properties and locate failure regions of highly active samples. This information is used to support our customers safety cases for continued operation, ascertaining failure mechanisms where relevant and underpinning long-term wet and dry storage.

The main areas and experience of expertise reside in the five teams listed below:

  • Endoscope – Damian Kenway-Jackson
  • Graphite – Michael Crelling
  • Fuels PIE – Neil Rutherford
  • Defence PIE – Ian Robinson
  • Metallography – Susan Morgan