Materials Characterization

Shielded Analytical Laboratory Hot Cells

Shielded Analytical Laboratory Hot CellsThe analytical lab has six shielded hot cells for receiving and analyzing highly radioactive materials. The hot cells are made of two feet thick, high-density concrete, with leaded glass shielding windows. The cells underwent a safety upgrade in 1993. A pneumatic transfer system brings samples to the hot cells from other facilities or moves finished samples to a waste cask for disposal.  The NMCD hot cells include:

  • Cell 1: Sample Receiving – Samples are received using a pneumatic system
  • Cell 2: Sample Dissolution – Samples or small portions of samples are dissolved
  • Cell 3: Sample Storage – A rotating sample rack is used for sample storage
  • Cell 4: Gamma Spectroscopy – Some samples are too radioactive to be taken to the counting lab. Therefore, a gamma spectrometer is used to count hot samples inside the hot cell. For fuel pins, the cell contains a micro gamma scanner, which only measures a small area of the sample at a time, while the sample is moved very slowly past, at a rate of approximately 0.5 millimeters per second.
  • Cell 5: Used for Multi-Programmatic R&D Instrumentation
  • Cell 6: Transfer Tube to Lead-Shielded ICP-AES Glovebox – Once the samples have been prepared in the hot cell, they can be transferred to the ICP-AES glovebox without removal from the hot cell

A chain-driven cart moves samples from one cell to the next, and the manipulators allow staff to work with the samples without danger of exposure.

Contact Information

Jeffrey Giglio
Idaho National Laboratory
(208) 533-7755
Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office