Office of Nuclear Energy

National Lab Hot Cell Fuels Nuclear Materials Research

February 1, 2018

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Take a peek inside one of the largest hot cells in the United States.

The Hot Fuel Examination Facility (HFEF) at Idaho National Laboratory is one of the best places in the world to conduct radioactive materials research.

It allows scientists to understand and develop future materials and nuclear fuels.

See it in action below in this video.

Hot Fuel Examination Facility at Idaho National Laboratory
Hot Fuel Examination Facility at Idaho National Laboratory

Hot Cell Stats

The HFEF houses two hot cells that allow researchers to remotely study and handle highly radioactive materials.

The main cell measures 70 feet by 30 feet and has a purified argon gas atmosphere to provide an inert, non-corrosive environment for fuel and material testing.

Researchers work behind 4-foot-thick windows and use remote manipulators to safely handle, deconstruct and analyze a wide variety of materials ranging from fuel pins to commercial fuel rods.

Examinations can run the gamut from dimensional measuring to accident simulation equipment to test for fuel and material performance.

The data gathered is used to develop safer, more efficient fuel designs to propel the industry forward.

Learn all about HFEF’s capabilities in this fact sheet from Idaho National Laboratory.

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