Behavior of materials in molten salts

Access to clean and affordable Energy is a key challenge in the current context of climate emergency. Several leads have been considered for several years but technological issues remain up to date to make it happen. From concentrated solar plant to 4th generation of nuclear reactor, molten salt is a promising media (both for heat transfer fluid and the fuel itself). Nevertheless, due to the presence of impurities, molten salts are highly corrosive for commonly used materials.
Most of the commercial alloys - either nickel based or iron base - seems to suffer from rapid attack. It is then needed to broaden the scope of the studies by investigating innovative materials. Thus, a screening of materials is planned to select the most interesting ones. After a thorough filtering, a study of the corrosion mechanism will be carried out through analysis at different scales (SEM, DRX, SDL, ICP, etc … )as well via electrochemical techniques and thermodynamic modelisation (HSC and FactSage).
The aim of the post doctoral subject offered at the S2CM (Service of corrosion and Behavior of Materials) consists in the entire study of the behavior, from the sample preparation to the caracterization of corrosion products. This topic is highly experimental and goes deep in the understanding of the corrosion mechanisms. This post doc position is part of a project gathering top - Notch industrial and academics (EDF,Framatome, Orano and the CNRS). Results obtained are subject to be presented to the different partners.

Data science for heterogeneous materials

In order to predict the functional properties of heterogeneous materials through numerical simulation, reliable data on the spatial arrangement and properties of the constitutive phases is needed. A variety of experimental tools is commonly used at the laboratory to characterize spatially the physical and chemical properties of materials, generating "hyperspectral" datasets. A path to progress towards an improved undestanding of phenomena is the combination of the various imaging techniques using the methods of data science. The objectives of this post-doc is to enrich material knowledge by developping tools to discover correlations in the datasets (for exemple between chemical composition and mechanical behavior), and to increase reliability and confidence in this data by combining techniques and physical constraints. These tools will be applied to datasets of interest regarding cementitious materials and corrosion product layers from archaeological artifacts.

Analysis of low abundance 144Ce and 106Ru isotopes by mass spectrometry

The aim of this project is to develop the high precision analysis of 144Ce and 106Ru by mass spectrometry in irradiated samples for the qualification of neutronic calculation codes. These two isotopes are present at low abundances in the samples of interest and display significant isobaric interferences with 144Nd and 106Pd respectively. To complete this project, the candidate will carry out the appropriate analytical developments in conventional laboratory on inactive samples. Then the procedure will be transposed in the active laboratory for validation with the analysis of real samples. In the case of 144Ce, the implementation of a coupling between high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and ICPMS-MC, combined with the isotope dilution technique for the precise determination of atomic contents is envisaged. For 106Ru, the 101Ru concentration will first be determined by ICPMS-Q and the 101Ru/106Ru ratio will be determined by HPLC/ICPMS-Q or HPLC/ICPMS-MC coupling to remove the 106Pd/106Ru interference.

Development of methods for U quantification in cells after exposure to uranium

This project fits into the transverse Toxicology Program, led by CEA, whose purpose is to address by multidisciplinary approaches, the potential effects on living organisms of elements of strategic interest to the CEA. The objective is to provide some understanding on the mechanisms of uranium toxicity and behavior, in connection with its speciation in cells. Indeed, the radionuclides speciation governs their bioavailability, accumulation, biodistribution, toxicity, detoxification mechanisms and their interaction at the molecular level.
The post-doctoral project (12 months) consists in:
- Developing methods to quantify U accumulated in the cells as well as endogenous content of trace elements after exposure of cells to uranium.
- Developing methods to determine the precise isotopic composition of U in the cells after their exposure.
The candidate will be in charge of developing chemical purification and measurement methods for precise elemental and isotopic analyses. The analyses will be performed using inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometer (ICP- MS Q) or inductively coupled plasma multi- collection mass spectrometer of the latest generation (ICP- MS MC), to achieve the lowest level of uncertainties.

Evolution of the surface layers resulting from the physico-chemical interactions between low pH concrete and clays: experiments and modeling

The design of an industrial facility for storage of radioactive wastes in geological environment is an important issue taken into account in the French nuclear energy sector. In this context the cementitious materials are an important (packages, structures).
The main objective of the proposed study is to characterize alterations of the materials in the concrete-clay interfaces, caused by chemical exchanges. At the current stage, a comprehensive approach was initiated taking into account simultaneously the chemistry of the storage site and concrete considered for this application, based on commercial cements or innovative binders (low pH) formulated specifically. On these low pH materials in particular, questions remain as to their mineralogical and microstructural evolution. An experimental program (dedicated testing, microscopic characterization), supplemented by digital simulations, will increase the essential knowledge for use of these materials.
This project will involve both of the specialists of cementitious materials of the CEA, and researchers at the laboratory Hydrasa of the University of Poitiers.

xenon measurement by Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy to improve safety in the fast neutron reactors

Safety is a key point of the IVth generation nuclear reactors. Therefore new analytical methods are investigated for reliably detecting tracers of a nuclear reactor malfunction. This postdoctoral work aims at studying an innovative laser absorption method, Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy CDRS, to measure gaseous tracers indicating a reactor malfunction. This study is part of the research and development activity of the Physical Chemistry Department (DPC), which is partly involved in improving and developing tools and analytical methods. The optical system studies are a collaboration work with the "Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique" of the Grenoble University (France), which is a leader research laboratory in trace gas detection by laser absorption methods CRDS (Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy) and OF-CEAS (Optical Feedback Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy).
A glow discharge was coupled to a Cavity RingDown measurement. After plasma conditions optimization, the optical set-up is able to measure below 1 part per billion Xe/Ar mixing ratios. The optical saturation of the xenon electronic transition should be considered to quantify each isotope. The optimized CRDS measurement will be characterized. The set-up could further measure krypton isotopes.
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N. Sadeghi, J. Plasma Fusion Research 80 (9), pp 767-776 (2005)