The shielded sample preparation area (SSPA) at the IMCL is designated for sample preparation and optical microscopy on highly radioactive materials. The SSPA consists of three shielded bays, an inert N2 glovebox, and a radiological fume hood, all connected for ease in transferring of materials. The three shielded bays focus on sample preparation, optical microscopy, and transferring of samples. The sample preparation bay has an automated grinder/polisher, a low-speed saw, and decontamination tools. The optical microscopy bay hosts a Keyence optical microscope with 1,000x capability. The transfer cell hosts radiological measurement equipment and can facilitate transfers of highly radioactive materials. The inert glovebox is focused on sample preparation activities of low-dose materials. It contains automated polishers, cameras, low-speed saws, and various other equipment that support sample preparation activities. The fume hood is used for sample preparation activities on low-dose, low-contaminated materials.
Sample preparation and optical microscopy of highly radioactive materials
Sample preparation includes highly radioactive fuels (both commercial and research based) and transuranic bearing materials. Quantities of material are limited by shielding capabilities of the IMCL transfer cask and the SSPA.