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The Fuels and Materials Research (FMR) laboratory is located at the Joint Research Centre in Karlsruhe (Germany). The Nuclear Fuel Safety Unit provides the scientific basis for the objective assessment and modelling of the safety related behaviour of nuclear materials, with emphasis on nuclear fuels, under normal and off-normal operating conditions, serving European and international authorities, as well as academic and research organisations. The main activities covered by the FMR laboratory involve the synthesis and characterisation of actinide-containing materials (including plutonium and minor actinides). Standard and advanced techniques for sample synthesis, materials characterization and property determination are employed. These include sol-gel precipitation, powder blending and pressing, conventional or spark plasma sintering, encapsulation techniques, X-ray diffraction, vibrational spectroscopy (Raman and infra-red), electron microscopy (scanning and transmission) and focused ion beam, drop and differential scanning calorimetry, Knudsen cell effusion mass spectrometry, electro-motive force analysis, dilatometry, indentation, and laser flash methods for the measurement of thermophysical properties including melting.
Priority topics of FMR
- Synthesis and characterisation of actinide-containing materials relevant for the assessment of nuclear safety standards (oxides, ceramics…).
- Safety-related characterisation of new forms of nuclear fuels, including molten salts.
- Laboratory simulation of nuclear power plant severe accident conditions.
- Advanced methods for the synthesis of nuclear material assemblies, for Generation IV nuclear power plants, including transmutation targets, or for space applications.
- Exploratory research for the development of new scientific concepts, measurement techniques, testing of new equipment or materials.
Definition and conditions of access
Access to the research infrastructure is granted on the basis of Access Units. For FMR, the Access Unit ('AU') corresponds to an 'Operating day' made available for the experimental activities. Projects involving long-term stays (3-9 months) of students are encouraged.
Physical access to the laboratories is restricted to opening hours but, in certain cases, automatic measurements can be performed when the laboratories are closed. Users can utilise the JRC equipment with the support of JRC staff. Employment of users’ own equipment is not recommended in laboratories inside the controlled area, because of the strict radiation protection rules in force at JRC Karlsruhe. If the use of own equipment is necessary, this has to be indicated and duly justified in the proposal and should be coordinated already well in advance before the scheduled laboratory time. Users of the FMR laboratory can only participate in experiments conducted by in-house staff.
Users will be requested to complete and submit safety and security-related documents to receive access to the laboratories. Approval of access is subject to the rules of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre and the German authorities. Submission of documents should therefore start in due time to allow completion of the approval procedure well before the start of the experiment.
- Estimated total number of Operating days allocated to the call: 75 AU*
- Average number of Operating days per Project: 10-15 AU
- Estimated maximum duration of the User Access Project: 24 months
- Estimated additional costs excluding consumables and other expenses:
- Research infrastructure operated by JRC staff: 0€ / AU
- Research infrastructure operated by users: Not possible
* A total of 180 Operating Days will be allocated to the PAMEC, HC-KA and FMR laboratories.
** In addition, a total of 180 Access Units (Operating days) can be granted for each User Access Project that involves Users visiting the JRC for long-term stays.
Support of Users for travel and subsistence
The JRC may provide a financial or in-kind contribution to support Users to cover their costs of travel and subsistence (T&S) related to the User Stay Days, subject to the availability of funds, personnel and other resources to Users from User Institutions located in an EU Member State or country associated to the Euratom Research Programme (only Ukraine).
A User Stay Day is a day of physical presence of a User at the concerned Research Infrastructure for Access related to the User Project. A registered entry to the JRC site where the Research Infrastructure is located counts as a User Stay Day.
- Estimated total number of User Stay Days for short- term stays eligible for T&S allocated to the call: 75.
- Estimated total number for long- term stays (months) eligible for T&S allocated to the call: 24.
A short-term stay corresponds to a stay of up to 20 User Stay Days.
A long-term stays corresponds to a stay exceeding 20 User Stay Days, up to a maximum of 200 User Stay Days.
For more information on the support offered to users please consult the Rules on the contribution to travel and subsistence expenses of external users.
Long-term stays are primarily meant for undergraduate and graduate students and have a duration of at least one month. They are typically three to nine months for Karlsruhe, and one to six months for Petten and Geel.
The Lead User is invited to fill in the User travel and subsistence form and send it to JRC-ACTUSLAB-KARLSRUHE@ec.europa.eu by the closing date of the call. For more information, the Lead User may contact the JRC Research Infrastructure at JRC-ACTUSLAB-KARLSRUHE@ec.europa.eu.
Allocation of intellectual property rights
- The JRC and the entitled party (person or organisation that has been granted access) become co-owners in equal shares of all raw data, treated data and documentation data developed with respect to the access.
- The Lead User Institution and User Institutions (see definitions in the Framework) must be from an EU Member State, or country associated to the Euratom research programme.
- The scope of the work for nuclear RIs must be in line with the activities defined in Annex I of Council Regulation (Euratom) 2021/765.
- The Lead User Institution must be from a university, research or public institution, or from a Small-Medium-Enterprise (SME).
- User Institutions from international organisations, under the condition that the Lead User Institution and at least 2/3 of all the User Institutions (including the Lead User Institution) are located in a Member State or a country associated to Horizon Europe or to the Euratom research programme. In case of one or two User Institutions (including the Lead User Institutions), this requirement is only applied to the Lead User Institution.
- Ethical considerations in accordance with EU Law, in particular Art. 19 of Regulation (EU) 2021/695, and applicable laws and regulations in the EU Member States.
- The proposal submission form is complete and complies with the instructions.
Proposals will be evaluated in accordance to the following selection criteria:
- Scientific implementation (50 points)
- Collaboration and access to new Users (20 points)
- Strategic relevance (30 points)
The proposal must be prepared using the Relevance-driven Proposal Submission Form.
During preparation of the proposal, applicants are encouraged to:
- Read the "Framework for Access to the physical Research Infrastructures of the JRC" and its annexes.
- Contact the research infrastructure at JRC-ACTUSLAB-KARLSRUHE@ec.europa.eu to specify the level of experience of the User(s) to perform related tests and to assess feasibility aspects related to the capacity of the research infrastructure concerning:
- Test parameters,
- Specimen geometry.
Proposals should be submitted to JRC-RI-OPEN-ACCESS@ec.europa.eu by the closing date of the call.
The User Selection Committee will only evaluate proposals that are complete and comply with the instructions in the proposal submission form.