Lab Partnering Service Discovery
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Particle accelerators use electric fields to speed up and increase the energy of a beam of particles. These particles are steered and focused with magnetic fields. The Low-Energy Accelerator Facility (LEAF) consists of an electron linear accelerator (LINAC) and a Van de Graaff (VDG) electron accelerator. Originally built in 1969, the LINAC recently underwent a significant upgrade to increase the beam power and energy. Researchers in Argonne’s Nuclear Engineering Division use the LEAF for a wide range of applications. This talented team of radiochemists, chemical and nuclear engineers, health physicists and experienced technicians supports multiple programs on behalf of sponsors such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. DOE Office of Science Isotope Program and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL) facility, established in 2010, is an intermediate-scale liquid metal experimental facility that provides purified R-grade sodium to various experimental test vessels to test components that are required to operate in a prototypical advanced reactor environment. Experiments conducted in METL significantly assist the development of advanced reactors.
Targets can be produced by wet chemical methods, molecular deposition, mechanical rolling and pressing. The laboratory is equipped with a split glovebox for handling actinides, a HEPA-filtered hood for working with metal powders, and several chemical fume hoods for working on various processing/production methods.
TREAT is an air-cooled, thermal-spectrum test facility specifically designed to evaluate the response of reactor fuels and structural materials to accident conditions. The reactor was originally constructed to test fast-reactor fuels, but its flexible design has also enabled its use for testing of light-water-reactor fuels as well as other exotic special-purpose fuels, such as space reactors. TREAT has an open-core design that allows for ease of experiment instrumentation and real-time imaging of fuel motion during irradiation, which also makes TREAT an ideal platform for understanding the irradiation response of materials and fuels on a fundamental level.
TREAT was placed on standby in 1994. Operations were resumed in 2018. TREAT will provides a valuable capability to support efforts to develop accident-tolerant fuels for light-water reactors as well as the advanced reactor fuels, both of which will allow nuclear power to remain the primary source of emission-free baseload energy in the future.