Innovations for in-pile measurements in the framework of the CEA-SCK CEN joint instrumentation laboratory

Jean Francois Villard, Marc Schyns

    Research outputpeer-review


    Optimizing the life cycle of nuclear systems under safety constraints requires high-performance experimental programs to reduce uncertainties on margins and limits. In addition to improvement in modeling and simulation, innovation in instrumentation is crucial for analytical and integral experiments conducted in research reactors. The quality of nuclear research programs relies obviously on an excellent knowledge of their experimental environment which constantly calls for better online determination of neutron and gamma flux. But the combination of continuously increasing scientific requirements and new experimental domains -brought for example by Generation IV programs- necessitates also major innovations for in-pile measurements of temperature, dimensions, pressure or chemical analysis in innovative mediums. At the same time, the recent arising of a European platform around the building of the Jules Horowitz Reactor offers new opportunities for research institutes and organizations to pool their resources in order to face these technical challenges. In this situation, CEA (French Nuclear Energy Commission) and SCK•CEN (Belgian Nuclear Research Centre) have combined their efforts and now share common developments through a Joint Instrumentation Laboratory. Significant progresses have thus been obtained recently in the field of in-pile measurements, on one hand by improvement of existing measurement methods, and on the other hand by introduction in research reactors of original measurement techniques. This paper highlights the state-of-the-art and the main requirements regarding in-pile measurements, particularly for the needs of current and future irradiation programs performed in material testing reactors. Some of the main on-going developments performed in the framework of the Joint Instrumentation Laboratory are also described, such as: -a unique fast neutron flux measurement system using fission chambers with 242Pu deposit and a specific online data processing, -an optical system designed to perform in-pile dimensional measurements of material samples under irradiation, -an acoustical instrumentation allowing the online characterization of fission gas release in PressurizedWater Reactor fuel rods. For each example, the obtained results, expected impacts and development status are detailed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5658085
    Pages (from-to)3647-3654
    Number of pages8
    JournalIEEE transactions on nuclear Science
    Issue number6 PART 2
    StatePublished - 5 Dec 2010
    Event2009 - ANIMMA : 1st International Conference on Advancements in Nuclear Instrumentation, Measurement Methods and their Applications - Marseille
    Duration: 7 Jun 200910 Jul 2009


    Manuscript received June 19, 2009; revised February 17, 2010; accepted August 06, 2010. Date of current version December 15, 2010. The work described in this article is made in the framework of the Joint Instrumentation Laboratory with balanced support from the French Nuclear Energy Commission (CEA) and the Belgian Research Centre for Nuclear Energy (SCKCEN).

    FundersFunder number
    CEA DEC/SESC - Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
    CEA DEC/SESC - Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives

      ASJC Scopus subject areas

      • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
      • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
      • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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