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Success story! Nuclear research with Shielded EPMA at CEA Cadarache

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The CEA Cadarache facilities in southeastern France represent Europe’s largest energy research and development center.

In the Microanalysis Laboratory within the facility’s LECA-STAR complex, Karine Hanifi assists in a wide variety of national and international research programs, conducting analyses on a SX 100-R electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA), a forerunner of our current shielded EPMA solution, the SKAPHIA.

In a recent study, the Shielded EPMA was used to precisely map and measure elemental concentrations at and below the surface of fuel pellets to predict the impact of the oxidation/reduction potential of high-temperature atmospheres generated during accident simulations. With detection limits down to 300 ppm, the instrument was able to supply precise mapping and quantitative data (a non-shielded instrument would be unable to achieve these measurements on radioactive samples!).

Understanding the reaction mechanism in the reactor — as simulated in the Cadarache VERDON test device — and investigating the evolution of microstructures in the fuel allows scientists to predict these accidents’ consequences in terms of contamination.

Download the success story Empowering nuclear research with a CAMECA EPMA at CEA Cadarache to learn more!