How are (nuclear) materials structured?
SCK CEN studies the chemical and radiochemical composition of different types of materials or nuclear samples. Our research institute is responsible for these analyses and investigates whether a sample is radioactive, what the material is made of and possibly which isotopes are present. We also provide answers to questions such as “How radioactive is a given object or matter?” and “What types of radioactive radiation are concerned?”. These radiochemical analyses play a key role in many research projects but you can also call upon our expertise as a client from the medical sector or nuclear industry. The expertise of our radiochemical analysis group is internationally acknowledged. Many companies, among which operators of nuclear power plants or research facilities, medical radioisotope producers or radioactive waste processors, have already called on SCK CEN.
Worldwide acknowledged experience
Our long-standing experience enables us to determine the chemical and radiochemical composition of even the most complex materials and samples.
SCK CEN has a wide range of analytical equipment installed in radiochemical laboratories and our facilities are dedicated to the analysis of both low- and high-level radioactive samples. Our laboratories are equipped with extractors, glove boxes and hot cells.
Our expertise includes: a and g spectrometry, LSC (liquid scintillation counting), spectroscopy, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry (a.o. ICP-MS, TQ-ICP-MS, HR-ICP-MS, TIMS, GMS). Besides, we also characterize total organic and inorganic carbon (TOC/TIC) and use combustion analysis to identify the H, N and O content.
Radiochemical analyses of aqueous solutions
SCK CEN identifies and characterizes your liquid samples, among which leach waters, reactor cooling waters, waste waters, extraction liquids, research samples, ... The composition of both main components and very low concentrations is determined.
Radiochemical analyses of solid matter
SCK CEN analyses, at your request, the composition of radioactive waste, irradiated and non-irradiated fissile materials, resins, filters, soil samples, isotopes, etc.
Development of innovative radiochemical processes
SCK CEN develops innovative processes for both the medical sector and the industry as part of the nuclear fuel cycle. One of our main competences in this development is the radiochemical separation (including hot cell manipulations) which is paramount in sample preparation to allow for specific analyses.
If needed, SCK CEN can apply specific preparation techniques (combustion, microwave oven and sample preparation under high-pressure, etc.) and radiochemical separations to a particular sample. It is particularly interesting for complex samples.