Nuclear Materials Characterization Department
The Nuclear Materials Characterization Department (NMCD) at Idaho National Laboratory works to provide high-quality processing, analysis and characterization of radiological materials. Known more commonly as the analytical lab, the NMCD is a centralized facility that can provide solutions for INL’s environmental, nuclear energy, nonproliferation and homeland security programs.
Built in 1958, the NMCD is located in the Materials & Fuels Complex at the INL Site. It is a hazard category III nuclear facility, and it contains several specific and many multiuse laboratories, with an impressive inventory of sophisticated analytical equipment.
Materials analysis is an important part of many different fields. The NMCD provides support for numerous clients, from INL and elsewhere. Fuel cycle R&D, fuels for advanced gas reactors, projects from government agencies and private corporations - both foreign and domestic - and environmental safety & health (ES&H) sampling from the INL Site are just a few of the projects and clients that come through the lab.
- Research and development: Innovations in nuclear technology require innovative analysis methods. The NMCD provides support for nuclear and chemical R&D, creating ways to analyze and evaluate nuclear fuels, materials and waste.
- Analysis of nuclear fuels and reactor components: The safe, secure handling of nuclear materials is a top priority at INL. By providing comprehensive analysis of reactor components and fuels, the NMCD helps insure the safety of the people in and around INL, and the security and increased lifespan of our nuclear energy plants.
- Analysis of hazardous or radioactive waste: Waste disposal has been a concern with nuclear power for years. With their work in nondestructive assay techniques, and hazardous and radioactive waste analysis, researchers at the NMCD are helping in the effort to create safe, effective, long-term solutions for nuclear waste storage.
- Environmental sample analysis: Any facility that houses or uses nuclear materials needs to have a way of preventing the escape of radiation into the surrounding environment. By using analytical methods on the different environmental systems, the NMCD can help keep these environmental systems running efficiently and effectively.
The capabilities provided by the NMCD play an integral role in bringing INL to the forefront of nuclear energy research.
NMCD provides high-quality, efficient nuclear and radiological materials characterization, processing and analysis from a centralized analytical laboratory (AL) to the nuclear programs, outside customers and base infrastructure of Idaho National Laboratory.
To become the world leader in the nuclear community for providing high-quality analytical data by leveraging personnel expertise, multiprogram capabilities, and research and development abilities.