Nuclear Science


Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory

The Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL) was initially designed and constructed to permit the safe handling of increasing levels of radiation in the chemical, physical, and metallurgical examination of nuclear reactor fuel elements and reactor parts. The IFEL was constructed in 1963 and is a two-story brick building with a partial basement. The front or northern-most section is a single-story office area. The two story area to the immediate rear houses the cell complex, the operating areas, and other supporting activities. The office area is isolated from the main part of the building, so the office area can be excluded from the secondary containment zone. The facility has a gross floor area of about 27,000 ft2.


  • Receipt and handling of irradiated materials (fuel or nonfuel in shielded casks)
  • Capsule disassembly
  • Nondestructive and destructive testing of irradiated materials
  • Full-length LWR fuel examination
  • Repackaging of spent nuclear fuel
  • Packaging and shipment of irradiated materials (on-site & off-site)
  • Examination and testing activities such as metrology; metallographic sample preparation by sectioning, grinding, and polishing; optical and electron microscopy; gamma spectrometry; and other physical and mechanical properties evaluations as appropriate to the experimental objectives of a particular program.


Hot Cells 6 hot cells
1 SEM cell
Viewing Window Lead glass and mineral oil
Cell Construction High-density concrete used for front, rear, and top shielding
Ventilation HEPA filtered
Services Available Process and service compressed gases, air, demineralized water, process water, recirculating heating and cooling water,  steam, vacuum, and electrical services
Intercell movement Two small diameter horizontal transfer stations are used for small objects while larger items are transferred through the shielded airlock door system
Material Handling Master-slave manipulators

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