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.

Reactor Design and Separation Science – Electron Optics

The team offers world class active electron microscopy facilities. A combination of high specification instruments enables detailed correlative microscopy to be performed from bulk scale down to the atomic level. Our microscopes are located in radiologically controlled areas allowing the preparation and analysis of active materials.

Using our focused ion beam (FIB) instrument, targeted samples can be produced for transmission electron microscopy or atom probe tomography. With the installation of a plasma FIB (PFIB), due in 2018, this capability will be greatly expanded enabling the production of larger sample cross-sections.

A combination of scanning electron microscopes (SEM) with energy & wavelength dispersive X-ray (EDX/WDX) and electron backscatter diffraction detectors (EBSD) enables elemental and orientation mapping. The PFIB will also add secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) and transmission imaging capabilities.

Our scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) offers detailed investigations into lattice expansion, crystallography and grain boundary analysis. Energy electron loss spectroscopy (EELS) enables further elemental quantification, free of anomalies associated with radioactivity. An aberration corrected cold FEG-STEM, planned for future installation, will allow spectroscopic studies on individual atomic columns within a crystal.

Customers: Rolls-Royce / MoD, Sellafield Ltd, Magnox, Wood Group, EDF Energy, AWE

Skills: The team consists primarily of classified workers, skilled in the handling and examination of active materials.

Facilities: FEI Helios Nanolab 600i: High specification DualBeam FEG-SEM/FIB. Capable of producing TEM lamella and tips for atom probe tomography. Ion imaging, SE, BSE, EDX and EBSD detectors.

JEOL 2100 LaB6 200 kV (S)TEM: 80 – 200 kV operation. 0.19 nm lattice resolution in TEM mode, ~ 2 nm STEM resolution. Electron diffraction, EDX, EELS, spectrum imaging and EFTEM capability. HAADF, ADF and BF detectors for STEM.

Bruker 1172 SkyScan CT Scanner: Automated 3D X-ray tomography. Sample diameter up to 27 mm (single scan) or 50 nm (offset scan). Details down to 0.65 µm
FEI Quanta FEG-ESEM: 5- 30 keV and variable pressure operation with SE, BSE, EDX, WDX and EBSD detectors.

Plasma FIB (Due for installation 2018): High specification PFIB/ FEG-SEM with EDX, EBSD, STEM detectors and TOF-SIMS analytical capabilities.

JEOL ARM200CF FEG-STEM (Due for installation 2018/19): Cold FEG probe aberration corrector allowing. 68 pm resolution STEM mode, 0.19 nm TEM mode. Electron diffraction, EDX, EELS, spectrum imaging and EFTEM capability.

AADF, ADF, ABF and BF detectors for STEM.

Collaborations: National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF), Henry Royce Institute, University of Manchester