Scientific Highlights from Research Division
Nuclear Energy and Safety (NES)
A safe, economical and environmental friendly disposal of used nuclear fuel represents an essential objective of relevance for all. This guides the approach under development at the laboratory for reactor physics and thermal-hydraulics. Establish higher resolution simulation methods to gain more detailed knowledge on the content of each single nuclear fuel rod ever irradiated in a reactor. Thereafter, use this knowledge to explore optimization approaches that could potentially enlarge the range of disposal options allowing to fulfill the highest level of safety standards while reducing economical costs and geological footprints at the same time.
Switzerland plans to construct a deep repository for its radioactive waste. There are three potential locations, and data obtained by PSI researchers can aid in selection of the best one.
Can Switzerland, as planned, reduce its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050? What is needed to achieve this? What could it cost?
In our bodies, G protein-coupled receptors mediate countless processes. PSI researcher Ramon Guixà talks about how he brings those receptor molecules to life on the computer screen.
PSI researchers have shown how faster and better defined quantum bits can be created. The central elements are magnetic atoms from the class of so-called rare-earth metals, selectively implanted into the crystal lattice of a material.
In December 2020, the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) published its white book on radiochemical education in Switzerland. The report was authored under the lead of Prof. Dr. Roger Alberto (University of Zurich), Dr. Mario Burgener (Spiez Laboratory), and Prof. em. Dr. Heinz W. Gäggeler (University of Bern/Paul Scherrer Institute) and comprises contributions from many experts on the topic from various institutions throughout Switzerland. The white book highlights the imminent loss of experts in the field of radiochemistry and provides solutions to counteract this development.
As of December 10, 2020, the ETH Zurich appointed PSI’s Prof. Dr. Patrick Steinegger as assistant professor of radiochemistry (tenure track). Thus, the ETH domain took first counter measures against the imminent loss of radiochemical expertise in Switzerland, emphasized in the “Weissbuch Radiochemie Schweiz” by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT). Furthermore, the December issue of CHIMIA (Swiss Chemical Society) invited to present the diverse radiochemical activities throughout the country.
The December issue of CHIMIA of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) focused on the radiochemical activities throughout Switzerland. Scientists of the Laboratory of Radiochemistry contributed with a number of articles ranging from topics of fundamental sciences to applied research, thereby reflecting on the diverse projects carried out in our laboratory.
The Hot Laboratory division (AHL) within PSI’s Nuclear Energy and Safety (NES) division continually upgrades and advances its analytical infrastructure to provide cutting-edge scientific service to PSI’s researchers and industrial customers. A new, fully automatable and highly flexible Ion Chromatograph (IC) furthers AHL’s efforts in sample miniaturization and extends the spectrum of destructive analytical capabilities to element and speciation specific analyses. With the new IC and its modern ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) facilities, AHL offers innovative scientific options for nuclear and general research. Moreover, speciation analyses by IC-ICP-MS for polyvalent inorganic water pollutants such as Cr or As and the acquisition of a new ICP-OES system (Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry) enable future autonomy in wastewater management.