Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has recently completed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment to establish a microscopy facility in the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory(RPL) that provides unprecedented new nuclear science research capabilities to analyze and characterize radiological materials.
“This investment will both advance nuclear science research and supporting programs, as well as strengthen the capabilities and viability of the RPL into the future,” says materials scientist Edgar Buck. “The new facility’s instruments will benefit research across a number of disciplines, and will be particularly useful for studies related to plutonium oxalate and oxide morphology, waste disposal, in situ corrosion of spent fuel, glass corrosion, and Hanford tank waste processing.”
The facility, the Radiological Microscopy Suite (RMS), consists of four specially designed laboratory spaces that house advanced microscopes and a sample preparation lab with a radiological fume hood to work with radioactive materials. “This combination of tools allows us to examine the dynamic behavior of radiological materials from the micron to atomic scale with unprecedented structural and chemical resolution—all in one facility,” explains materials scientist Steven Spurgeon.