Nuclear power stations now contribute a significant part of the electrical energy requirements of many countries and it is likely that this contribution will rise in the future. The successful development of a nuclear power program depends largely on the testing of candidate fuel and structural materials in a test reactor and subsequently full scale components from power reactors. After irradiation in a nuclear reactor materials become intensely radioactive and, in order to protect workers, have to be handled remotely in special enclosures. Although hazards involved in handling radioactive materials are formidable, safe remote handling techniques have been developed and operated in many laboratories around the world for over 30 years. Post-irradiation examination (PIE) of irradiated materials involves most of the techniques normally used in conventional laboratories such as radiography, non-destructive testing, chemical analysis and metallography. This paper describes recent developments in facilities and equipment used for metallographic examination of radioactive materials and gives details of the preparation techniques used. The adaption of standard electron-optical instruments for radioactive material examination is also briefly described.
KeywordsObjective Changer Irradiate Material Metallographic Preparation Standard Microscope Lead Cell
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