Fusion CDT students, Jack Haley and Robbie Abernethy, recently attended the MINOS conference at CEA Cadarache Research Centre on Flux and Dose effects in Nuclear Materials. Cadarache should be a familiar place to anyone interested in Fusion – it is the home of ITER! The conference actually took place directly opposite the building site of ITER.
Robbie and Jack both study radiation damage in materials that might be used in a future nuclear device, such as DEMO. A big problem in this field is correlating radiation dose with the damage because there are a wide variety of variables that influence this damage. Some of these can be controlled, some cannot. This conference aimed to look at the work researchers from CEA and many other institutions around the world have been conducting related to flux or dose effects.
Highlights from this conference included a fascinating talk by Ian Robertson of the University of Wisconsin, USA. Robertson’s talk was entitled “Dislocation Grain Boundary Interactions in Irradiated Metals”. In this, he presented his observations of how dislocations migrate across grain boundaries with video recordings captured in a Transmission Electron Microscope, and with electron tomography 3D reconstructions of the dislocations.
Another impressive talk was from Kazuhiro Yasuda from Kyusha University, Japan, which was entitled “Structure of Defects and Microstructure Evolution in Oxide Ceramics”. Yasuda displayed atomic resolution TEM images of single cascades in his materials. Observation of such a small scale event is exciting as it brings us closer to the scale at which simulations can model radiation damage events.
The final day of the conference involved a tour of the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR), a new Materials testing fission reactor currently being built on the CEA Cadarache site. The tour was quite extensive, involving going into the containment building and looking down into the reactor pool. The JHR is the first materials testing reactor to be built in Europe for over 45 years, and is set to replace many aging test reactors that are scheduled to close in the next few years.