Post-Irradiation Examination

The NSUF offers researchers access to a broad range of post-irradiation examination facilities. The user guides and/or website for each of these facilities provide detail on the capabilities offered. For a list of the technical point of contact for each facility, please click here.

Idaho National Laboratory

Hot Fuel Examination Facility (HFEF) is a large alpha-gamma hot cell facility dedicated to remote examination of highly irradiated fuel and structural materials. Its capabilities include nondestructive and destructive examinations. The facility also offers a 250 kWth Training Research Isotope General Atomics (TRIGA) reactor used for neutron radiography to examine internal features of fuel elements and assemblies.

The Analytical Laboratory (AL) is dedicated to analytical chemistry of irradiated and radioactive materials. It offers National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)-traceable chemical and isotopic analysis of irradiated fuel and material via a wide range of spectrometric techniques.

The Electron Microscopy Laboratory (EML) is dedicated to materials characterization, primarily using transmission electron, scanning electron and optical microscopy. The EML also houses a dual-beam FIB that allows examination and small-sample preparation of radioactive materials. 

The Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory (IMCL) hosts a fuels and materials characterization laboratory containing optical, scanning and analytical microscopes. It also has a shielded sample preparation area, a thermal analysis suite, and a mechanical properties testing suite.

The Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking (IASCC) Facility test cell houses two autoclaves outfitted with Instron, servohydraulic actuators and capable of simulating Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Normal and Hydrogen water chemistries as well as Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) environments using a closed loop, recirculating chemistry control system, and an autoclave to enclose test specimens within the environment. 

INL PIE User Guide 

Center for Advanced Energy Studies

The Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) is equipped to handle low-level radiological samples as well as nonradiological samples. MaCS offers several high-end pieces of equipment, including a Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP), Spark Plasma Sintering System, Automated Hardness Tester, Scanning Electron Microscope, Nano Indenter Atomic Force Microscope, Transmission Electron Microscope, and Focused Ion Beam. CAES website

Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Wing 9 Hot Cells consist of four shielded cells for mechanical testing (including tension, compression, bend bar, ring pull and harness testing); machining/cutting/polishing; sample handling and storage; cleaning; and shipping and receiving.

The Fuel Research Laboratory provides fuels fabrication and characterization, including high density fuel fabrication; a full suite of thermophysical properties measurement; and an expanded radiological enclosure. Instruments include XRD, SEM, arc melter, nanoindenter, and resonanant ultrasound spectroscopy.

The Plutonium Surface Science Laboratory provides capabilities in scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, infrared reflection-absorption sepctroscopy, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, x-ray and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscapies, profilometer, and gas chromatograph mass spectroscopy. Users Guide

Los Alamos National Laboratory  intends to provide access to the following Secondary Facilities only as part of proposals centered on Primary Facilities:

  • Ion Beam Materials Laboratory (IBML)  Ion irradiations, including reirradiation of neutron irradiated materials
  • Electron Microscopy Laboratory  FIB, TEM, SEM, EBSD and associated capabilities

North Carolina State University

Post-irradiation examination capabilities at NCSU's Nuclear Services Laboratories include: Positron Intense Beam Facility and Defect Analysis Lab (including slow beam based Positron and Positronium Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy (PALS) systems with Doppler Broadening Spectroscopy (DBS) capabilities and bulk sample Na-22 PALS, Neutron Powder Diffraction and Microstructure Analysis Lab, neutron imaging, and neutron activation analysis. NCSU Nuclear Services Laboratories Users Guide

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ORNL's hot cells and radiological laboratories offer a wide variety of R&D and production capabilities from radiochemistry and isotope packaging to materials testing to irradiated fuels examination. Facilities include the Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing (IMET) facility, Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL) and Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC). The Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis (LAMDA) Laboratory, added in 2012, offers post-irradiation examination capabilities including refractory element test stands for tensile testing, optical and scanning electron microscopes, and thermal diffusivity and density measurement equipment. For more information, view the ORNL PIE Users Guide

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Radiochemistry Processing Laboratory (RPL) and the Materials Science and Technology Laboratory (MSTL) offer a wide range of specialized equipment for handling and testing fuels and materials. Capabilities include experiment hardware design, fabrication and assembly, testing facilities for both nonradioactive and radioactive structural materials, and the advanced characterization of unirradiated and irradiated fuels and materials using instruments including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical microscopy. PNNL RPL & MSTL Users Guide

Purdue University

The IMPACT (Interaction of Materials with Particles and Components Testing) facility offers a wide range of spectroscopy techniques to study the surface of materials. The IMPACT facility houses a variety of examination instruments including low-energy scattering spectroscopy (LEISS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), auger electron spectroscopy (AES), extreme ultraviolet reflectometry (EUVR), extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photoelectron spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Purdue IMPACT Facility Users Guide

University of California, Berkeley

U.C. Berkeley's Nuclear Materials Laboratory provides several capabilities for examining irradiated material samples including a nano-indentation system for nano and microscale hardness testing at ambient and elevated temperature and inert environments, positron annihilation spectroscopy, and warm sample preparation (polishing, cutting, grinding and mounting). UCB User Guide

University of Florida

The Nuclear Fuels and Materials Characterization Facility (NFMC) provides capabilities in microstructural characterization and mechanical properties evaluation of materials-related research, with an emphasis on nuclear. The facility went into use in March 2017. The laboratory is dedicated to supporting radiological work and and the University of Florida Teaching Reactor. All instruments can be used for radioactive materials and fuels. FIB is equipped with EDAX EBSD/EDS detectors and an in-situ mechanical testing unit (Hysitron PI 87xR SEM PicoIndenter with 800C heating option) that is approved for radiological use. TEM is equipped with EDS and a variety of holders (single tilt, double tilt, tomography). The large mechanical scale equipment can be configured for a wide array of tests, including durability, fatigue crack growth, high-cycle fatigue, low-cycle fatigue, fracture toughness, tension, compression, and more. The controlled atmosphere furnace can test materials up to 1600C.  Website

University of Michigan

The Irradiated Materials Complex provides laboratories and hot cells with capabilities for conducting high-temperature mechanical properties experiments and corrosion and stress corrosion cracking experiments on neutron irradiated materials in an aqueous environment, including supercritical water, and for characterizing the fracture surfaces after failure. UM User Guide

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Post-irradiation examination capabilities at the Harry Reid Center Radiochemistry Laboratories include metallographic microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, Rietveld analysis, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, analytical transmission electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. UNLV User Guide

University of Wisconsin

The Characterization Laboratory for Irradiated Materials (CLIM) offers post-irradiation examination capabilities including scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy on neutron-irradiated materials. UW User Guide


Westinghouse offers its Materials Center of Excellence Laboratories (MCOE) Hot Cell Facility and accompanying laboratories to provide experimental support to ATR-related nuclear energy materials research programs. The Westinghouse facilities in Churchill, Pennsylvania, are housed in four cells that provide a broad range of testing, evaluation and characterization capabilities for both unirradiated and irradiated materials. In-place capabilities include the ability to test under a variety of environments, an extensive mechanical testing laboratory, a specialized corrosion and stress corrosion cracking lab, and materials microstructure and chemical characterization instruments. Specialized facilities are also available to measure the radioactivity properties of materials under investigation as well as neutron and gamma sources facilities, which can be employed to assess materials' response to in-situ radiation. Westinghouse User Guide