Study of aerosol transport through degraded materials

Radioactive Waste (RW) are produced during nuclear activities and are categorized as a function of their activities and their half-life in order to manage their conditioning, transport, storage… Mortar can be used in order to immobilize and/or create a safe barrier forming a Radioactive Waste Package (RWP) in order to protect the environment. It is important to study the efficiency of this mortar barrier for long term and safety assessment have to investigate the case of crack mortar formation as radioactive particles could then migrate in the cracks.
The LECD laboratory investigated this problematic by measuring the migration of CeO2 particle in mortar cracks using X-Ray microtomography. The cracks were synthesized by dissolving plastic molds (designed by 3D printing). This study showed the influence of particle interactions with tortuosity and roughness of the crack, but was limited to 40 µm particle diameter.
The aim of the postdoctoral work is to develop an experimental approach similar to the method developed to study the efficiency of HEPA filters, with particles of 0.05 - 5 µm diameter. Quantitative measurements will be performed on the particle flows on both sides of the cracked mortar sample. LECD has acquired an aerosol generator, a light-scattering aerosol spectrometer system for particle size analysis and concentration determination and an Universal Scanning Mobility Particle Sizers. The researcher will also develop modelling work using numerical tools as STARCCM+.
This project will be carried out under the format of an 12-month fixed-term contract at the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), at the Cadarache site (Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, 13) at the Expertise and Destructive Characterization Laboratory (LECD) of the Expertise and Characterization CHICADE Service (SECC).
Contacts: ingmar.pointeau@cea.fr (R&D engineer) – Olivier.vigneau@cea.fr (Head of the Laboratory)

Aqueous alteration of nuclear glass in its disposal environment

Exploitation, characterization and modeling of so-called "integral" experiments of glass alteration intended for the confinement of nuclear waste (SON68 and AVM4) in the presence of iron, cementitious material and argillite from the Bure site in two geometrical configurations: one simulating a disposal cell, the other intimately mixing the materials present. These tests were launched on behalf of ANDRA between 2017 and 2018 and their characterization started in the past two years.

Role of metal containers on the alteration of high-level waste confinement glasses in geological storage conditions: glass-iron interactions in hydrogen-tight reactors

Vitrified waste resulting from nuclear power plant fuel reprocessing, as well as their steel containers and overpacks, are intended for permanent storage in deep geological layers. Water will be the vector of glass alteration and potential migration of radioactive elements. The most advanced storage concept to date provides for the glass package to be protected for its thermal decay step from interaction with water by an unalloyed steel overpack. However, whether in the form of metallic iron or corrosion products of steels (oxides, carbonates, sulfides), iron plays a significant role in glass alteration.
The objective of this work is to understand and quantify the mechanisms of glass-iron interaction in order to strengthen the operational models for waste package performance. To this end, a bench of ten hydrogen-tight instrumented reactors has been developed in the laboratory. It has allowed the implementation of a first series of long-term experiments of several months, which concerned a non-radioactive model glass and a iron carbonate. The objective will be to carry out these interaction experiments using metallic iron this time, to characterize the sampled solutions and neoformed alteration products, and to interpret the experiments using the modeling tools available in the laboratory.

Slope stability analysis of the Mururoa atoll by probabilistic approach and construction of a weighted database of gravity origin tsunami models on the Nice region

Modeling of the spent fuel alteration mechanisms in a water-saturated environment with temperature effect

Modeling the alteration of spent nuclear fuel in the eventuality of an underwater interim storage in pools or a deep geologic disposal is essential for long-term prediction. In the event of a failed spent fuel assembly, corrosion processes can lead to a deterioration of the failed rod and to a radionuclide release into water. A geochemical model coupling chemistry to transport (reactive transport) was the subject of first developments in connection with deep geological disposal conditions using the CHESS-HYTEC code developed by the Ecole des Mines de Paris. This model makes it possible to take into account the main alteration mechanisms and associated kinetics while relying on robust thermodynamic data. It remains important to pursue these developments by studying the effect of temperature between 20 and 70 °C. Adapting this model to other alteration conditions like an underwater of spent fuel in dedicated pools for several decades is also a short-term objective.

Modelling of valley winds by statistical downscaling

To model and monitor atmospheric emissions in an area with significant relief, it is essential to represent the winds at the scale of this relief. Cadarache's operational meteorological model only has a horizontal resolution of 1km, which does not allow it to resolve the orographic effects of the valley.
However, obtaining simulation results with a high resolution model requires calculation times that are still incompatible with the constraints of operational weather forecasting (6 hours of calculation on our servers for 1 hour of forecast for Cadarache in 2020). This constrains the horizontal resolution of the calculations and does not make it possible to resolve the orographic valley effects.
The object of the post-doc is therefore to develop a downscaling model applied to a 3D mesh of the valley, with a sufficient resolution to, at the same time, model the aerology of the valley and follow a pollution plume using an atmospheric dispersion model. It will be implemented through the use of an artificial neural network, the learning of which will be based on measurements of local climatology and aerology, supplemented by synthetic data using a local high-resolution model.
The candidate will work within a small, attentive and benevolent CEA team while remaining connected to university research via the Toulouse Aerology Laboratory. He will be able to both become a specialist in applied research in the meteorological field and acquire digital and scientific skills that can be used in business.

Optimization of energy transition scenarios through a dynamic Life Cycle Assessment approach

The modelling of the energy transition, with a projection until 2050 and adaptable to different countries or strategies, is complex in terms of LCA because it involves many parameters:
- a dozen possible energies, with evolutionary inventories of construction of electricity generation/storage infrastructure
- a difficulty to estimate the future of technologies for a given sector
- electricity generation in connexion with national consumption
- very contrasting scenarios, including more or less rapid increases in renewables and a decrease in nuclear power, offset or not by gas-fired combined cycle power plants
- a need to provide for several forms of electricity storage depending on the size of the unmanageable energy stock, with power levels depending on the storage time
- the correlation or not of storage power with the level of interconnection of European electricity networks.
The work will consist of analysing the inventories available in the Ecoinvent database linked to Simapro, modifying them according to the foreseeable technologies for the medium term, continuing modelling in Python language to include all the parameters.
The objective is to determine the best possible environmental trajectories for the French energy transition.

Synthesis and structural analysis of reference uranium minerals for the identification of uranium-bearing phases in mining environment by TRLFS.

In the frame of the collaborative project between the ICSM , CEA and Orano, a study is conducted in order to detect and identify minerals containing uranium (VI) by Time-Resolved Laser Fluorescence Spectroscopy (TRLFS). This technique showed its efficiency in order to identify the presence of uranyl in natural assemblies through the probing of the local environment of uranium. However, it requires the establishment of a database from synthetic and natural samples fully characterized. Therefore, in order to achieve this goal, we intend to synthesis, and thoroughly characterize a variety of compounds containing uranyl groups within the crystal structure. We can cite the families of oxi-hydroxide, sulfate, and silicates based compounds. Then, TRLFS spectra will be collected in order to complete the database and to evidence the impact of the local structure of uranyl cation on the intensity and the position of the emission bands. The obtained data will be also compared to a collection of natural samples.

Geophysical site characterizations of European seismic monitoring stations and contributions to the development of best-practices for noninvasive site characterization methods

In-situ geophysical characterizations of earthquake recording stations are essential toward the effective use of ground motion records by the earthquake engineering community to mitigate seismic hazards. The current methods used for seismic site characterization rely on array-based recordings of surface-waves. These methods determine the site dispersion curves from surface-wave phase velocity versus frequency (or wavelength) relations before inverting the curves to model the site shear wave velocity (VS) versus depth profiles. VS profiles are then used to calculate the site’s time-averaged VS of the upper 30 m (VS30) for use by engineers in developing ergodic GM regression models, and/or in combination with the site GM recordings, to directly estimate the site-specific seismic response. In recent years, an important effort was initiated by several countries to improve the state-of-knowledge about geophysical site characterization methods with the aim toward robust and consistent characterizations (VS, VS30, etc.). Much work still remains to be done with respect to the characterization of site conditions at network stations and the improvement of the methods selected and their implementation. The proposed post-doc position will consist of participation in the current effort of seismic station characterization, as well as the optimization of their implementation: 1/ The post-doctoral candidate is expected to participate in geophysical surveys of seismic stations located in European, 2/ The candidate is expected to improve acquisition parameters in order to optimized subsequent surveys 3/ Finally, the candidate is expected to be involved within the COSMOS guidelines project and assist organizers within the project advancement and guidelines writing coordination.

Development of processing by Artificial Intelligence of a measuring and forecasting station

This post-doctoral proposal is part of the French atomic commission (CEA) project "MultiMod'Air", which involves developing an « intelligent » prototype of air quality measurement and forecasting station within two years. The work proposal is to develop the bricks of Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the project: correction by ANN (Artificial Neuronal network) of the measurements obtained through low cost sensors, correction ANN of weather forecasts at the station level, which are simple treatments to implement. The actual research work will concern the development of a AI based pollution forecast at the station by learning from past events.

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