LBE aerosol particle source terms in future generation IV lead or lead-bismuth cooled fast neutron reactor systems

SCK•CEN Mentor

Corazza Christophe,, +32 (0)14 33 80 12

Expert group

Conditioning and Chemistry Programme

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Rosseel Kris , , +32 (0)14 33 80 05


Recently, the Belgian government gave the green light to the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) to start constructing MYRRHA, the first accelerator driven research reactor in the world. MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Application) consists of a proton accelerator delivering a particle beam to the centre of a liquid Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) cooled, subcritical nuclear core. The beam of energetic protons produces spallation neutrons at very high energies that sustain the nuclear chain reaction in the reactor core.

This accelerator driven system (ADS) concept is recognized as a promising system for the purpose of nuclear transmutation and minimization of spent fuel radiotoxicity.

Despite the considerable technological and scientific progress that has been made regarding the use of LBE as coolant and spallation target, some uncharted areas remain. One of these area is the formation and dynamic behaviour of aerosols. It is known from operating light water reactors (LWR) and sodium fast reactors (SFR) that significant quantities of nanoparticles are created, entrained in the gas stream of the reactor vessel, so-called aerosols. Lead fast reactors (LFR) like MYRRHA won’t be any different.

As these aerosols can act as carriers for hazardous radionuclides, their formation and behaviour needs to be studied to assess the risks related to radioactive release under postulated accident conditions.


This research proposal focuses on characterising one of the most important LBE aerosol source term mechanisms in future generation IV lead or lead-bismuth cooled nuclear reactor systems: aerosol formation due to liquid coolant impingement.

The aim of this thesis/internship is to characterize aerosols released from LBE drops and streams falling onto solid or liquid surfaces under realistic conditions.
For this purpose, a vacuum chamber set-up is constructed, which will allow

  • recording of the phenomena occuring in the chamber using a high-speed camera;
  • online particle size distribution determination of the generated aerosol stream.

The results of this work will aid in making accurate predictions of the formation of these particles and their consequences for the operation of MYRRHA.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Professional bachelor , Academic bachelor

The candidate needs to have a background in

Chemistry , Mathematics , Physics