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PATRICIA Heavy Metal Summer School 2021 | Fully booked

04/10/2021 - 08/10/2021

Boeretang 200



Heavy liquid metal (HLM) coolants offer new perspectives for the development of innovative nuclear systems for nuclear waste transmutation and energy production. The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN) is working on the development of HLM cooled MYRRHA accelerator driven system (ADS). MYYRHA will serve as an ADS demonstrator for transmutation, as an HLM reactor pilot plant and it will be used as an irradiation tool for research. With this, it is at the forefront of HLM nuclear technology worldwide. 

During this summer school, participants will gain insight into the state-of-the-art research focused to the development of MYRRHA and other HLM-based nuclear systems. The summer school will cover several aspects of HLM technology that are essential for the engineering design and safety of nuclear systems. 

Experts from SCK CEN and other internationally renowned research organizations will give the lectures. They will cover the most advanced HLM-based nuclear systems and deal with the neutronics, chemical, thermal hydraulic and materials issues and challenges in instrumentation, safety and design. Complementary to the lectures, visits are foreseen to various experimental facilities that were constructed at SCK CEN in support of the MYRRHA project. 

Throughout the course week, participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm on best practices and selections of technologies for HLM cooled nuclear systems in interactive sessions with the experts.  

Places for this summer school are limited to 20. Participants are invited to send in an abstract for a poster presentation on their research project. 

The summer school will take place in Mol, Belgium. In case COVID-19 measures at the time do not allow a face-to-face meeting, we will switch to an online format, with online alternatives for the laboratory visits.


To set the frame, the motivation for HLM-based nuclear systems and the design of several of the most developed HLM facilities will be introduced. In addition, the link with accelerator technology for ADS systems and partitioning and transmutation fuels is made.

In a module on chemistry you will be introduced to the various sources of impurities in HLM and to methods for their purification, to oxygen monitoring and control systems, and to the chemistry of radioactive impurities.

In the module on materials you will learn to select materials for structural and functional components of reactors and get acquainted with irradiation damage processes and with liquid metal induced corrosion and its mitigation strategies. 

The thermal hydraulics module will start from the fundamentals of heat transfer in liquid metals to provide insight in the thermal hydraulic phenomena occurring in the fuel assembly and primary system. Experimental and numerical tools for the system safety analysis will also be covered.

In the instrumentation module you will get an overview of measurement techniques that can be used in liquid metals and focus in more detail on ultrasonic measurements.


This summer school is aimed at PhD students, post-docs and professionals with a particular interest in the domain of HLM technologies.


The full programme can be downloaded here.

Required Knowledge

Participants should have obtained a Master degree in physics or engineering.


Participants are invited to send in an abstract (max. one page) before September 4, 2021 for a poster presentation on their research activities.

Learning outcomes

After participation to this course, participants will be able to:

Related to the module on motivation and design:

  • understand the motivation behind the use of HLM coolants in nuclear applications
  • describe the basic design principles for HLM cooled nuclear systems
  • understand the principles that define the requirements and design of an accelerator suited for ADS
  • understand the principles and steps required for spent fuel partitioning and the conversion into transmutation fuel

Related to the module on coolant chemistry:

  • identify different chemical processes occurring in HLM systems and explain their relation to operation and safety
  • list the different sources of impurities in HLM systems
  • describe by which theoretical and experimental methods the different sources of impurities can be quantified
  • explain why and by which methods certain impurities are removed from heavy liquid metal coolants
  • explicate why oxygen control and monitoring is essential for operation of HLM nuclear systems
  • describe by which methods oxygen control can be achieved and explain their operation
  • explain the working principle and different designs of oxygen sensors
  • clarify which chemical processes govern the distribution of radionuclides in a system like MYRRHA
  • explain the physic chemistry of radionuclide evaporation from heavy liquid metals and experimental methods to measure evaporation

Related to the module on thermal hydraulics:

  • explain the general principles of liquid metal heat transfer
  • identify the possibilities and shortcomings of different numerical approaches for liquid metal heat transfer
  • select proper correlations for pressure loss and heat transfer coefficients in liquid metal cooled fuel assemblies
  • estimate the effects of blockages and deformations in fuel assemblies
  • explain the phenomena occurring in heavy liquid metal pools including mixing and stratification, sloshing etc.
  • describe the approach to design and instrument a scaled pool experiment
  • identify the possibilities and shortcomings of system analysis codes for heavy liquid metal cooled reactor systems
  • explain the issues related to system safety in heavy liquid metal cooled reactor systems

Related to the module on materials issues:

  • identify the general principles of selection and qualification of materials for structural and functional components of reactors
  • differentiate between screening tests and characterization of materials properties for design
  • list mechanical properties used for the design of structural and functional components
  • name the degradation effects of heavy liquid metals and neutron irradiation on mechanical properties used in the development of reactor components
  • describe the general principles of liquid metal corrosion and to give an example of mitigation approaches

Related to the module on instrumentation:

  • give an overview of measurement techniques for diagnostics and process monitoring of liquid metal systems
  • explain the major parameters that affect the performance of an ultrasonic system
  • specify the requirements for an ultrasonic sensor for a given application
  • estimate achievable resolution of an ultrasonic scanning system


The registration fee and accommodation costs are supported by the PATRICIA project. This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2019-2020 under grant agreement No 945077.

Participants are however requested to make their own travel arrangements. Even though the registration fee is waived, registration is mandatory.

Registration info

This training course is fully booked.

The training will focus on interaction and dialogue. For this reason, the number of participants will be limited to 20.

Registration to the summer school includes:

  • Participation to the course, exercises and technical visits;
  • Welcome reception on Monday evening October 4, 2021;
  • Coffee breaks & lunches during the course;
  • Training material and documentation;
  • Certificate of attendance.

Cancellation is only possible until September 1, 2021.

In case we cannot organize this summer school in a face-to-face format due to the COVID-19 situation, the programme will be transformed to an online format (in a reduced version). We will not foresee an hybrid version.

SCK CEN reserves the right to cancel a training course or event (e.g. in case of low number of registrations) without reimbursement of already made travel and accommodation arrangements.

We attach great importance to the safety of our trainees. SCK CEN has the right to modify the programme, cancel or postpone the training course at any time based on further instructions imposed by the Belgian government or internal instructions by the SCK CEN General Management related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.’


Participants are requested to make their own travel arrangements. The accommodation cost will be waived. Pre-booking is made at the Corbie hotel in Geel from Sunday October 3 until Friday October 8, 2021.

Hotel booking must be confirmed by the participant before September 4, 2021 by email to geel [at] corbiehotel [dot] com (geel[at]corbiehotel[dot]com) and academy [at] sckcen [dot] be (academy[at]sckcen[dot]be).

Please mention your contact data, the check-in and check-out date and the name of the course ‘Heavy metal summer school’.

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