Neutron irradiation effects in ITER divertor materials


Verbeken Kim, (Universiteit Gent (UGent))

SCK•CEN Mentor

Terentyev Dmitry,, +32 (0)14 33 31 97

Expert group

Structural Materials

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Van Renterghem Wouter , , +32 (0)14 33 30 98

Short project description

In this project, we will investigate mechanical properties of ITER plasma facing materials (PFM) to explore the impact of neutron irradiation which is inevitable during ITER Fusion Power Operations. The preparation of ITER for exploitation is one of the highest priority on the European Fusion Roadmap [1]. The divertor plasma-facing units are made up of chains of tungsten (W) monoblocks bonded to a copper-chromium-zirconium cooling tube, with a pure copper interlayer in between. Currently, the information available from the open literature sources on the neutron irradiation effects in tungsten and tungsten-copper joints is essentially scarce and non-systematic [2]. The technological objective of this project is to build up a comprehensive set of data, while the scientific objective is to contribute to the determination of the ITER divertor lifetime and to help refine the operational budget being developed at ITER. The latter will require appropriate physical understanding of the impact of neutron irradiation on the mechanical properties to build a robust predictive model.

The investigation will thus include mechanical testing, microstructural analysis and finite element analysis. Combination of those elements will allow to achieve the main goal: development of the database to assess ageing of ITER PFC under exploitation in nuclear phase. Hence, the project will be performed in tight collaboration with ITER (Dr. De Temmerman), who will provide guidance in the approach used for the assessment of the structural integrity of ITER PFC and technologically relevant grades for the investigation. SCK•CEN has a long standing expertise in the irradiation and post-irradiation examination in the field of structural integrity assessment. The expertise of Ghent University (Prof. Verbeken) on structural materials and microstructural characterization is the third element completing the core partners of this project. ITER will also provide connection for FEM assessment to be done in collaboration with University of Paris (Prof. Yann Charles).

The project is scheduled for 4 years, it will include a number of secondments to ITER and other fusion labs to perform experiments on unique equipment. Main part of the project will be performed at SCK•CEN in close collaboration with young and experienced researchers engaged in the qualification and R&D of nuclear materials as well as design of Fusion Target Station within the Myrrha project [3].

[1] The Road to Fusion Electricity | EUROfusion, F. Romanelli,

[2] D. Stork Developing structural, high-heat flux and plasma facing materials for a near-term DEMO fusion power plant: The EU assessment, J. Nucl. Mater. 455 (2014) 277-291.

[3] H. Aït Abderrahim, D. De Bruyn, G. Van den Eynde & S. Michiels (2013) Transmutation of High Level nuclear Waste by means of Accelerator Driven System (ADS).

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Master of sciences

The candidate needs to have a background in


Estimated duration

4 years
Before applying, please consult the guidelines for application for PhD.