ICN - Pitesti



  • Ensuring the technical support for testing at irradiation the nuclear fuel intended for nuclear power plants CANDU-type;
  • Testing and qualifying the structural materials intended for the CANDU nuclear power plant;
  • Radioisotopes production for applications in the health, environment and industry field;
  • Development of investigation methods and techniques using the radiations produced in the reactor.

Activities and services:

  • Irradiation activities in the reactor of the nuclear fuel and structural materials;
  • Development, homologation and authorization of new irradiation devices for irradiation testing of nuclear material and structural material for nuclear power plants;
  • Reactor core management;
  • Carrying out transient tests in the ACPR reactor for supporting the homologation documentations for Generation IV fuels;
  • Using the reactor for the radioisotopes production;
  • Analysis services for neutron activation;
  • Prompt gamma spectrometry;
  • Neutron dosimetry;
  • Determination of irradiated fuel burn-up;
  • Neutron radiography of irradiated and non-irradiated materials;
  • Structural analyses through neutron diffraction;
  • TIG computer welding and microplasma on stainless steels, special alloys, reactive and refractory materials.

Experimental facilities:

The Reactor Department has nationwide unique facilities that allow testing and irradiation testing of nuclear fuel and structural materials in nuclear power plants.


Irradiation facilities:

  • Irradiation devices:
  • A-100kV loop, Temp. Max. 310oC; Pmax: 120 bars;
  • C1-C2 capsule, Temp. Max. 300oC; Pmax: 120 bars ;
  • C5 capsule, Temp. Max. 290oC; Pmax: 6 bars;
  • C9 capsule, Temp. Max. 300oC; Pmax: 120 bars;
  • Curved crystal neutron diffractometer;
  • SANS diffractometer;
  • Prompt gamma spectrometry facility;
  • Chemistry laboratory;
  • Thermal column - standard neutron spectrum system in the intermediate Sigma-Sigma energy range located in the Thermal Column with irradiation cavity from the TRIGA SSR research reactor pool. Thermal neutron flux density ranges between 2x106 -5x1010 n/cm2s-1
  • High resolution gamma spectrometry chain;
  • TIG computer welding facility;
  • Vacuum brazing facility.


TRIGA ACPR - REACTOR - Annular pulsed reactor

The ACPR - Reactor can work up to 20.000 MW pulse; it has a single central irradiation cannel for fuel and structural materials irradiations under pulsed modes.
Irradiation facilities:

  • C6 capsule (Temp. Max. 290oC; Pmax: 6 bars) is an irradiation device intended for the irradiation testing of experimental fuel elements ;
  • Neutronography facility;
  • PGA (prompt gamma analysis);
  • Pneumatic rabit for neutron activation analysis.

Following the modernization process completed in 2011, it was extended the lifetime of TRIGA up to 2030.

Main achievements:

  • Nuclear fuel tests and structural materials:
    • Design, execution and instrumentation for the sample holder for measuring the central temperature of the fuel elements;
    • Measurement test of the central temperature of the fuel element;
    • Nuclear fuel behavior in network load tracking mode;
    • 403M steel irradiation used in the terminal fittings of the fuel channels;
    • Irradiating samples for nuclear fuel claddings;
    • Zr - 2,5 % Nb alloy irradiation - the samples were from the pressure tube heads from Unit 1 Cernavoda;
    • Determining the threshold energy for nuclear fuel failure;
    • Gamma spectrometry fuel burn-up measurement;
  • Radioisotopes:
    • 192Ir sources production for industrial gammagraphy;
    • Irradiation target production for radioisotopes (different sizes of metallic pellets or sinterized) using homologated production lines.
  • Other applications for the nuclear field:
    • Neutrons activation analysis development using K0 method;
    • Neutron multi-elementary activation analysis;
    • Determination of the isotopic abundance of boron and gadolinium through prompt gamma spectrometry;
    • Development of a new concept configuration of crystal neutron diffractometer with high resolution;
    • Neutron characterization of the irradiation installation for testing in the TRIGA-SSR and ACPR reactors.



  • investigates the effect of the irradiation on the nuclear fuel and on the structural materials out of Cernavoda NPP and the TRIGA research reactor of INR Pitesti;
  • manufactures and sells sealed nuclear radiation sources and radioisotopes used in industry, agriculture and medicine;
  • Hot Cells
  • characterizes radioactive waste.

Activities and services

  • Post-irradiation examination of nuclear fuel which was irradiated in energetic nuclear reactors (Cernavoda NPP) in order to monitor its performance and to find the causes of faults, if applicable.
  • Post-irradiation examination of nuclear fuel which was irradiated in the TRIGA reactors (steady state reactor (SSR) and annular core pulsed reactor (ACPR)) of RATEN ICN Pitesti, both for normal and abnormal (power ramping, power cycling, overloading) running parameters and also for accident conditions (reactivity insertion, loss of coolant accident).
  • Examination of structural materials used for the nuclear reactor.
  • Manufacturing and sale of sealed nuclear radiation sources and radioisotopes used in industry, agriculture and medicine.
  • Monitoring and maintenance of SENTINEL industrial radiography devices used for Se-75, Ir-192, Co-60, and Yb-169 sealed nuclear radiation sources.
  • Characterization of radioactive waste.
Workstation in the hot cells
Leica TELATOM 4 metallographic microscope for radioactive materials

Experimental infrastructure

The facilities of the laboratory are unique on a national scale. They allow the testing, handling and examination of the nuclear fuel and the structural materials used in nuclear power plants. The infrastructure of the laboratory includes:

  • Two alpha-gamma heavy concrete hot cells (transfer cell and examination cell).
  • The transfer cell is equipped with:
    • devices and tools for dissasembling the sample holders and for the recovery of the experimental fuel elements and of the samples of structural materials tested by irradiation in the TRIGA reactor;
    • two TIG welding machines (used for the manufacturing of the sealed nuclear radiation sources and for other applications);
    • device for measuring the gamma activity of the sealed nuclear radiation sources;
    • CNC machining center DYNA DM 1007 used to prepare the radioactive samples for mechanical testing.
    The examination cell is equipped with:
    • periscope having a magnification up to x12;
    • three machines for non-destructive post-irradiation examination: machine for visual inspection by periscope, machine for dimensional measurements and defectoscopy using eddy currents, and machine for gamma spectrometry and tomography;
    • ZETEC MIZ-27 SI equipment for defectoscopy by eddy currents method;
    • FISHERSCOPE equipment for measuring the thickness of the oxide sheath by eddy currents method;
    • installation for sampling and analysis of fission gases.
  • Two alpha-gamma steel hot cells:
    • the metalography cell, having equipments for the metalographic preparation of irradiated samples in order to examine them by optical microscopy and by scanning electron microscopy;
    • the radiochemistry cell, having equipments needed to obtain fission Mo-99 by dissolving the irradiated uranium targets,
      TESCAN MIRA II LMU CS Schottky Field Emission Electron Scanning Microscope
      chemical separation of Mo-99 and purification of the solution.
  • A beta-gamma steel hot cell (the cell of the metalographic microscope).
  • A beta-gamma lead hot cell (the cell for mechanical testing) equipped with an INSTRON 5569 50 kN Tensile Testing machine having a furnace able to reach temperatures up to 1000oC.
  • System for the transport of the spent nuclear fuel using a transport container type B(U).
  • Radiochemistry laboratory equipped with:
    • inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) model ELAN-DRC, with reaction cell, for chemical and isotopic analysis;
    • high resolution gamma spectrometric system with extended range down to 5 KeV;
    • dual alpha spectrometric system type ORTEC 576A;
    • HPLC (high purity liquid chromatography) system;
    • microwave digestor.
    ELAN DRC-e Quadrupole ICP-MS INSTRON 5569 50 kN mechanical testing device for tests on irradiated materials
    TA Instruments Q2000 Detachable cell differential calorimeter
  • Equipments (installed in the hot cells) for manufacturing sealed nuclear radiation sources.
  • Portable gamma spectrometry system used for characterization of radioactive waste.
  • Metalographic microscope LEICA TELATOM 4, shielded, for the analysis of radioactive materials.
  • Scanning electron microscope model TESCAN MIRA II LMU CS with Schottky Field Emission.
  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter) model TA Instruments Q2000 with removable cell, used to determine the hydrogen content in irradiated zirconium alloys (pressure tube, fuel element cladding).

The Post-Irradiation Examination Laboratory is part of the HOTLAB Laboratories network within FP6 of the European Commission.


  • Post-irradiation examination services for spent nuclear fuel, discharged from the reactors of Cernavoda NPP (1 fuel bundle / year, from 2012 to 2015) (contract no. 3515/2012 between INR Pitesti/PIEL and Cernavoda NPP).
  • "Development within INR Pitesti of methods used to test irradiated materials", including the assesment of PIEL capability to examine pressure tube samples (DHC (Delayed Hydride Crack) test and the measurement of hydrogen content using Differential Scanning Calorimetry) (contract no. 3317/2008 between INR Pitesti and COG (Candu Owners Group)).
  • Manufacturing and sale of sealed nuclear radiation sources (Ir-192 and Co-60) for industrial radiography
  • Decomissioning of cobalt therapy installations belonging to the Ministry of Health and replacement of Co-60 sources in installations still functional.
  • Contract for checking, maintenance and service for SENTINEL type industrial gammagraphy installations (contract no. 3509/2012, between INR Pitesti/PIEL and SC KIMET SA Tg. Secuiesc).
  • Characterization of LEU foils to be used for fission Mo-99 production, prior and after the irradiation (contract no. 3512/2012, between INR Pitesti and ANL(USA)).

Last modified: 13-02-2019.


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