The Laboratory for Nuclear Materials (LNM) of the Nuclear Energy and Safety Division (NES) of the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)
The LNM is the principal research unit and national centre of excellence in Switzerland in the domains of materials behaviour and ageing in nuclear installations. LNM provides material-related academic R&D contributions and scientific services to the sustainability of current and future nuclear installations for electricity and heat generation or waste reduction as well as to the performance of nuclear research facilities. A special emphasis is placed to the safety and safe long-term operation of the existing Swiss nuclear power plants.
The current main activities are related to:
- Material ageing in LWR (primary) pressure boundary components and reactor internals and its impact on integrity, safety and lifetime
- Performance and safety of LWR core materials in service and storage
- Radiation damage in structural and core/target materials and their behaviour in the service environment in advanced nuclear and accelerator systems.
- Material irradiation program at SINQ in co-operation with the NUM division.
- Post-irradiation examinations (e.g., spent fuel, SINQ targets) and failure analysis in close cooperation with the Hotlab Division AHL.
LNM is actively engaged in academic teaching and education as well as in knowledge transfer contributing to the education of the future nuclear specialists and preservation of nuclear expertise and excellence in Switzerland.
Its independent expertise and competence are always available to the Swiss safety authority, e.g. for expertise’s and consulting (TSO), and for the industry, e.g., for material examinations and failure analysis.
LNM operates a state-of-the-art lab and computing infrastructure and modelling tools with internal and external partners for the characterization of (radioactive) materials (strongly benefiting from PSI’s unique large scale facilities: hotlab, SLS, SINQ, SwissFEL) and for the analysis & prediction of the material behaviour, integrity, safety and lifetime. The LNM and its quality management system are certified according to ISO 9001:2008. The scientific R&D program and strategy of LNM are periodically reviewed by its Scientific Advisory Committee.