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Investigating "lava-like" nuclear fuel to support decommissioning of Chernobyl

29 January 2021

A new paper, released online this week and to be published in Materials and Design, discusses an investigation of the microstructure and mechanical behaviour of simulant “lava-like” fuel that contained materials from Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactor unit 4.

This publication is a collaboration between the University of Bristol, the University of Sheffield and Diamond Light Source. The lead author is Dr Haris Paraskevoulakos from the Interface Analysis Centre, and the work brought together researchers from across science and engineering disciplines. As well as colleagues in the Interface Analysis Centre, experts from Bristol's Composite Institute as well as from the University of Sheffield's Immobilisation Science Laboratory were involved.  It aimed to gain a better understanding of the mechanical, physical and chemical behaviour to inform the decommissioning process. 


This research is part of the CHIMP programme, funded by EPSRC. It was a joint UK–Japan effort to support ongoing clean-up operations at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, focusing on characterisation, imaging and mapping of fuel debris for safe retrieval. It will, for example, inform the design process of robotics systems that will be used for decommissioning, so operators have a better knowledge of the hazardous materials that were formed during the incidents.

 Pre-loaded material volumes superimposed with relevant DVC strain maps for: a) black “lava-like” fuel containing materials (LFCM); b) brown LFCM. Yellow and black arrows demonstrate material discontinuities and elevated strain zones, respectively.

Further information

'Investigating the microstructure and mechanical behaviour of simulant “lava-like” fuel containing materials from the Chernobyl reactor unit 4 meltdown’ by  C. Paraskevoulakos et al in Materials and Design, March 2021. 

Authors: C.Paraskevoulakos, J.P.Forna-Kreutzer, K.R.Hallam,C.P.Jones, T.B.Scott, C.Gausse, D.J.Bailey, C.A.Simpson, D.Liu, C.Reinhard, C.L.Corkhill, M.Mostafavi

This paper is available via Open Access - click here to view 

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