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Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing (IMET) Hot Cell Facility

Nonreactor Nuclear Faciities (NNFD) Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Keith J. Leonard, Leader
Tel: 865-576-3687
Fax: 865-241-3650


The Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing (IMET) hot cell facility is a Class III nuclear facility located in Building 3025E at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. These hot cells are the primary mechanical testing and examination facility at ORNL for highly irradiated structural alloys and ceramics. The IMET facility is utilized by a number of programs, including DOE Office of Science (fusion energy sciences, HFIR surveillance program, SNS surveillance program), DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Heavy Section Steel Initiative, and NNSA Naval Reactors advanced materials programs. The six interconnected (shielded drawers/doors) steel-lined hot cells contain 320 square feet of work space and are maintained as a low alpha contamination facility (<70 dpm per 100 cm2) to facilitate transfer of specimens to other radiological laboratories after testing or sorting. An additional 600 square feet of work space for test equipment control systems and R&D staff work stations is located in a contamination-free area in front of the hot cells. The cells offer easy access for equipment installation and maintenance via removable roof plates for large equipment and doors at the rear of the cells for smaller equipment and personnel entry. A bottom-loading carrier is used to transfer large quantities of radiological specimens into the cells via removable roof ports. The hot cells are connected to the ORNL low-level liquid waste system. All of the cells are equipped with Level 8 (or better) manipulators. Video cameras and/or Kollmorgen wall periscopes are located in most of the cells to assist in visual identification of specimens and for equipment trouble shooting. The building exhaust is connected to a HEPA filtered ventilation system. Plant air, process water, liquid nitrogen, inert gas, and electrical power are available in all cells. Internet connections are used to transfer data from the equipment to internal and external users. The IMET facility also contains 60 storage wells capable of storing seven cans (~0.2 cuft) in each well. A 5-ton capacity overhead crane is used for transferring the carrier between cell roof ports and the storage area. A second overhead crane (1-ton capacity) is available in Cell 6 for handling equipment and large pressure vessel sections. The building has a convenient loading area for receiving and shipping carriers. A radiological specimen preparation area is located adjacent to the hot cells, consisting of three shielded glove boxes and a chemical hood with HEPA ventilation and connections to the ORNL low-level liquid waste system. This specimen preparation facility is used for preparation of transmission electron microscopy specimens and other specialized activities.


Equipment in Cell:
  1. Laser profilometer
  2. Precision densitometer
  3. Video equipment
  4. Instron tensile machine with vacuum chamber
  5. Automated ball-indention test system
  6. Instrumented Charpy impact machine
  7. Computer-controlled servo hydraulic machines
  8. Annealing furnace
  9. MTS fatigue testing machine
  10. Scanning electron microscope
  11. Computer-numerically controlled milling machine
Required Training or Comparable Qualification for User: