NSUF Article

Argonne launches Activated Materials Laboratory at Advanced Photon Source

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - Facility Highlight, Partner Facility

By Alexis Starks, NSUF at Idaho National Laboratory 

Last year, NSUF welcomed a new addition to the nuclear materials community. The Activated Materials Laboratory (AML), a new radiological facility at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), has recently been developed to assist in examining radioactive samples at the High-Energy X-ray Microscope and other APS beamlines.

In November 2023, Argonne National Laboratory and NSUF hosted a workshop at the new facility to introduce upgrade capabilities and showcase applications of high-energy X-rays in nuclear materials research and other fields. The workshop also helped researchers identify suitable X-ray techniques for critical problems, such as understanding the effect of irradiation on structural and cladding materials performance, understanding environmental degradation mechanisms of materials, understanding transient behavior of fuels and fuel performance, and improving/validating computer models with critical experimental data from in situ and/or 3D measurements at multiple length scales.

Workshop participants on tour to the High-Energy X-ray Microscope beamline (under construction) presented by Peter Kenesei (ANL).

As an NSUF partner facility, the AML is motivated by the strong and growing interest in using advanced synchrotron techniques, particularly non-destructive high-energy X-rays, to study activated samples. The facility is capable of receiving/shipping, encapsulation, survey and transportation of activated samples. Materials will include common nuclear reactor materials and fuels in solid form, such as irradiated Fe-based alloys, Ni-based alloys, Zr alloys, refractory metals, ceramics, uranium and uranium alloys. The AML also supports beamline experiments with dedicated equipment for in situ and/or 3D studies.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s NSUF program funds the AML’s construction and operation. User access to the AML and the associated APS beamlines is expected to start in the fall of 2024, following the commissioning of the APS upgrade project.