To ensure safe operations, it is crucial that nuclear reactor components like reactor vessels, heat exchangers, pipes and fuel claddings are able to function reliably for very long time during operation of a nuclear reactor. Material testing is central to demonstrate safety and is by necessity generally based on accelerated tests with higher loads, temperatures or more aggressive environments than encountered during operation of the reactor, while at the same time using also small material samples. The JRC’s environmental and mechanical materials assessment (EMMA) facilities in Petten, the Netherlands, support the development of European and International codes & standards for components and materials used in current and next-generation nuclear reactors. The EMMA facilities focus on material testing at high temperatures and in corrosive environments using test samples from the micro to the macro-scale. Most of the research is linked to international and European projects involving national research laboratories, academia as well as industry. The development of a European standard for the miniature test, “EN 10371 metallic materials — small punch test method”, led by EMMA scientists, is an example of a recent achievement. The open access to the EMMA facilities started in 2020.
EMMA Research Infrastructures
The AMALIA laboratory carries out research in the area of ageing of materials under the effect of environmentally assisted stress corrosion cracking.
Mechanical performance characterisation, life assessment and qualification of structural materials for present and next generation nuclear systems.
Study of microstructure and micromechanics for the understanding of synergistic effects of material degradation in nuclear environments.
LILLA allows performing mechanical tests in liquid lead with controlled dissolved oxygen concentrations up to 650°C.