P10: Joint Research Centre – Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU)


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is a Directorate General of the European Commission, whose mission is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the implementation of EU policies. One Institute of the JRC will be participating in the SEARCH Project, namely the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) in Karlsruhe. ITU has a broad experience in the field of fuel research, and in particular for what concerns MOX, transmutation and fast reactor fuels. It can rely on highly qualified laboratories for fuel fabrication (either for Pu based fuels or its newly constructed Minor Actinide Laboratory). ITU Laboratories are equipped with a variety of material property determination methods and post-irradiation examinations and have been a reliable partner in a large number of research projects both on MOX and Minor Actinides. Fuels have been prepared for the OECD Halden, BR2-Mol, HFR-Petten and Phenix reactors, as well as for a commercial nuclear power plant at Obrigheim. Fuels and fuel samples have also been successfully prepared and characterized for a variety of projects in the previous framework programmes, such as EFTTRA-T4, FUTURE and EUROTRANS. In addition to experimental facilities, ITU is using a variety of simulation and modelling tools. ITU has developed the TRANSURANUS fuel performance code. ITU also has a long experience in thermochemical and thermodynamic modelling, having established databases for actinide materials used in commercial packages like FACTSAGE and ThermoCalc. Finally, quantum mechanical and molecular dynamics calculations are employed to study of the fuel behaviour at the atomic scale.

Key persons involved in the project:

Rudy Konings graduated from the Utrecht University (Netherlands) in 1985. He obtained his PhD degree in chemistry from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) in 1990. From 1985 to 1998 he was employed by ECN and later NRG (Netherlands), working as scientific staff member and later as unit manager on various issues related to nuclear energy. Since 1999 he is employed by JRC-ITU, where he is now head of the Materials Research Unit. His main areas of expertise are thermochemical and high temperature studies of nuclear materials.

Philippe Raison has a PhD in solid state chemistry from the University Paris XI (1991). He has worked for the CEA in France before joining JRC-IE in 2002, working on various aspects on nuclear technology. In 2006 he joined JRC-ITU where he has worked on nuclear fuels and new ceramic forms for actinide containment and transmutation (pyrochlores, phosphates, zirconia-based compounds, etc.). His current activities are strongly focussed on studies on the interaction of sodium with advanced nuclear fuels for GEN-IV SFR, including investigation of phase diagrams and characterisation and structural analysis by X-ray/neutron diffraction.

Joe Somers holds a PhD in Chemistry (Trinity College Dublin, 1985) after which he spent 4 years as a post-doc in the Surface Physics Department of the Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin. Having joined the JRC-ITU in 1990, he spent several years investigating the interaction of high intensity sound fields with aerosols. For the past 12 years his research interests have been devoted to nuclear fuels with applications in LWR, HTR, ADS and fast reactor systems. He has been involved in a number of EU projects (THORIUM CYCLE, HTR-F, OMICO, PUMA) and has been responsible for fuel manufacture for irradiation testing in various reactors (HFR Petten, OECD Halden, BR2-Mol, Phénix and KWO Obrigheim).