Call for Proposals: HC-KA, Hot Cell Laboratory (ActUsLab)

Publication date
November 15, 2022
March 10, 2023
Short description

The Hot Cell Laboratory (HC-KA) consists of 24 shielded hot cells where highly radioactive materials (including full-length light water reactor pins) can be received, handled, examined and returned to their owners.


The facilities are equipped for Post Irradiation Examination (PIE) of nuclear fuels, including non-destructive and destructive techniques. Irradiated fuel pins and capsules properties are determined using profilometry, visual inspection, eddy current measurements, gamma scanning. Internal fission gas pressure and composition are measured by puncture test. Microscopy examination of fuel and cladding, and heat treatments (limited to specific configurations) can be performed. A Raman spectrometer for the determination of surface composition is also available in the hot cell.

Mechanical properties of 250-300 mm pre-pressurised fuel rod sections using three-point bending and impact device are determined to answer emerging issues pertaining to interim fuel storage and subsequent handling. Ring compression test- capabilities are also available.

Measurements of the Hydrogen content in the cladding are performed with the hot extraction technique.

A suite of chemical cells enables investigation of the back end of the fuel cycle, with focus on the long-term chemical (corrosion) stability of irradiated fuel in ground water, under both oxidising and reducing conditions (as expected in the final geological repositories). The stability of damaged fuel (“corium”) in fresh, borated and seawater is also investigated. Separate effect studies on tailor-made samples containing alpha emitters and/or simulated fission products are performed in standard gloveboxes.

A dedicated analytical sector provides ICP-MS measurements of leachates as well as full characterisation of dissolved fuel samples, including burn-up determination.  Furthermore, analytical methods for the determination of key ß-emitters at trace levels by Sector Field ICP-MS coupled to automated flow injection techniques are developed for so called “difficult to measure nuclides”, and are augmented by alternative innovative initiatives based on laser spectroscopy (14C, 36Cl, etc.). Dedicated radiometric measurement tools are also available.

The Hot Cell facility serves also as a hub for the preparation of irradiated fuel samples for, among others,  electron microprobe analysis, Knudsen effusion mass spectrometry, thermal diffusivity measurements.

Priority topics of Hot Cell Laboratory

  1. Applied research on materials and methods related to the spent fuel nuclear safety
  2. Spent fuel long term mechanistic release process of interest for geological disposal
  3. R&I activities for the characterisation of radioactive waste including new waste forms
  4. R&D on the stability and safe conditioning of damaged fuel ("corium")

Eligibility criteria

  • The Lead User Institution and User Institutions (see definitions in the Framework) must be from an EU Member State, or country associated to the Euratom research programme.
  • The scope of the work for nuclear RIs must be in line with the activities defined in Annex I of Council Regulation (Euratom) 2021/765.
  • The Lead User Institution must be from a university, research or public institution, or from a Small-Medium-Enterprise (SME).
  • User Institutions from international organisations, under the condition that the Lead User Institution and at least 2/3 of all the User Institutions (including the Lead User Institution) are located in a Member State or a country associated to Horizon Europe or to the Euratom research programme. In case of one or two User Institutions (including the Lead User Institutions), this requirement is only applied to the Lead User Institution.
  • Ethical considerations in accordance with EU Law, in particular Art. 19 of Regulation (EU) 2021/695, and applicable laws and regulations in the EU Member States.
  • The proposal submission form is complete and complies with the instructions.

Selection criteria

Proposals will be evaluated in accordance to the following selection criteria:

  • Scientific implementation (50 points)
  • Collaboration and access to new Users (20 points)
  • Strategic relevance (30 points)

How to apply

The proposal must be prepared using the Relevance-driven Proposal Submission Form.

During preparation of the proposal, applicants are encouraged to:

Proposal should be submitted to by the closing date of the call.

The User Selection Committee will only evaluate proposals that are complete and comply with the instructions in the proposal submission form.


For all additional information and details on this call, please visit the source page

Call identifier
  • Other
Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Admin on December 13, 2022
Modified on December 13, 2022