Post-irradiation examinations (PIEs) of nuclear power plant fuel

The Reactor Fuel Examination Facility (RFEF)

◎ Purpose of the facility

  This facility performs post-irradiation examinations (PIEs) on light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel and materials to evaluate the safety and reliability.

◎ Completion year of construction


◎ Features of the facility

  RFEF is one of the largest hot laboratories in Japan, where PIEs can be conducted using spent fuel assemblies. PIEs of 20 fuel assemblies (PWR: 8, BWR: 5, and ATR: 7) have been performed since the completion of the facility’s construction. Investigations into the causes of nuclear power plant incidents have also been performed at RFEF.

◎ Equipment

  The facility was designed for the usage of nuclear fuel materials and radioisotopes include the following:

Pool 1
βγ concrete cells 6
βγ lead cells 3
αγ concrete cells 2
αγ lead cells 2

A view of the facility
A view of the facility

Operating room
Operating room

◎ Main Examination Items

Pool Loading in/out of fuel assembly and rod, Visual observations
βγ concrete No. 1 cell Visual inspection, Dimensional measurement, γ-Scanning
βγ concrete No. 2 cell X-ray radiography, Eddy current testing, Oxide layer thickness measurement, Puncture tests
βγ concrete No. 3 cell

Disassembly, Reassembly, Rod cutting, Defueling, Rod refabrication

βγ concrete No. 4 cell Tensile and burst tests, Annealing tests of pellet
βγ concrete No. 5 cell LOCA Quench tests
βγ concrete No. 6 cell Macro observations, Preparation of metallography specimens
βγ lead No. 1 cell Metallography
βγ lead No. 2 cell SEM/EPMA
βγ lead No. 3 cell X-ray diffractometry, Ultra-micro hardness tests
αγ concrete No. 1 cell Visual inspection, Dimensional measurement, Puncture tests, Density measurement
αγ concrete No. 2 cell Cutting, Resin mounting, Preparation of metallography specimens, Ultra-micro hardness tests
αγ lead No. 1 cell SEM/EPMA
αγ lead No. 2 cell Metallography
Examination Room etc. Thermal diffusivity measurement, gas analysis, SEM

Visual inspection apparatus for the fuel assembly
Visual inspection apparatus for the fuel assembly

Electron Probe Microanalyzer (EPMA)
Electron Probe Microanalyzer (EPMA)

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