2nd International Summer School
on Nuclear Glass Wasteform:
Structure, Properties and Long-Term Behavior Wasteform

September 23 to 27, 2013 in the site of Pont du Gard (France)

The Joint Vitrification Laboratory

cea img 01CEA  and AREVA  decided, in September 2010, to create the Joint Vitrification Laboratory  (LCV) in order to further improve and strengthen their historical cooperation in radioactive waste treatment and conditioning by high-temperature processes.
Located in the Waste Treatment and Conditioning Research Department (DTCD) at the CEA’s Marcoule center (CEA Marcoule), the Joint Vitrification Laboratory  is mandated to provide innovative solutions on processes and materials for vitrification, fusion and incineration, for high, intermediate and low level waste.  

The objective of the Joint Vitrification Laboratory is to develop and consolidate scientific research and operational excellence in order to remain a world reference laboratory in the field of radioactive waste treatment and conditioning.

Mission of the LCV

cea img 02The missions of the Joint Vitrification Laboratory range from basic research (formulation, long term behavior)  to the development of innovative processes together with expert appraisals in the area of high-level radioactive waste vitrification, the treatment and conditioning of intermediate- or low-level waste by high-temperature processes (including vitrification, incineration with or without vitrification, and melting of metal waste) and processes for conditioning the waste in alternative matrices such as ceramics or glass-ceramics.

In these areas the LCV ensures:

  • The development of new solutions and improvement of existing solutions for the treatment and conditioning of radioactive waste.

• It provides support to industrial clients for defining their requirements, and especially for identifying the technical and economic objectives of future research and development work.

cea img 03• It also ensures the development and qualification of conditioning materials, technologies and processes to guarantee industrial performance. It provides scientific and technical support in preparing the specifications of waste packages; it determines the information necessary to conduct studies at all levels ranging from feasibility to commissioning (design basis and configuration of operating conditions); and it establishes the project specification for future commercial facilities.

• It ensures that the technical solutions and operating procedures defined for industrial implementation (including transient and incident conditions) meet the industrial performance objectives of the process. If necessary, it carries out supplemental R&D to meet these objectives.

  • Scientific and technical support for process operation in response to changes in existing facilities (input waste characteristics, operating constraints, regulatory modifications, etc.) as well as to assist AREVA and the CEA in controlling the operation of the process.
  • Basic research and modeling for a range of objectives:
    • maintaining excellence and expertise in the field of waste conditioning and management;
    • acquiring knowledge on materials, processes, and technologies to design new solutions, as well as organizing available knowledge to improve predictability and avoid the systematic need for long and costly testing.

The Joint Vitrification Laboratory also ensures scientific, technical, and competitive intelligence in its areas of activity.

Laboratory resources

cea img 05The LCV currently employs about 115 persons from the CEA, 10 from AREVA, and about 30 doctoral candidates, post-doctoral researchers, temporary foreign employees and long-term interns.
The Joint Vitrification Laboratory uses and relies on CEA facilities gathering a wide range of experimental equipments, from laboratory-scale to full-scale, which can be used in both radioactive and non-radioactive conditions.


Glass formulation

cea img 06Around 35 researchers work on matrix formulation studies, basic vitreous material studies and industrial support. Conventional furnaces, induction furnaces, thermal gradient furnaces and controlled atmosphere furnaces make it possible to create samples weighing anything between one gram and one kilogram in temperatures of up to 1600°C. All the associated characterization tools needed to measure the physical properties of molten and solid glass (viscosity, thermal conductivity, electrical resistivity, laser particle size analyzers, pycnometers, density meters, IR spectrometers, DSC, TG-DTA, etc.) and perform structural characterization (SEM with heating stage, field effect SEM, variable temperature X-ray diffraction, etc.) are also awailable.


Hot cells facilities

cea img 07cea img 0825 researchers operate hot cells for high level liquid analysis and solid waste elaboration and characterization. Radioactive materials weighing a few hundred grams can be produced (glass containing Pu, Cm, Tc, specific containment ceramics, but also fission product and minor actinide glass). The produced glasses can be prepared (cut, bored, encapsulated, polished) for analysis and for alteration experiments in water in static or dynamic conditions.  


Long term behavior studies

Around 30 researchers are in charge of the long-term behavior studies of glasses and new containment matrices. Due to the timescales involved in the glass alteration mechanisms by water in repository conditions, robust predictions can only be made by demonstrating an understanding of the innermost mechanisms by which water weathers glass, and modeling them. Original glass weathering experiments (in static, dynamic and repository conditions) are carried out to determine the durability of the matrices. Operational models are produced to predict the performance levels over time in a variety of conditions.


Mock-ups and process studies

A team of around 30 researchers specializing in high-temperature process engineering  is in charge of the studies in the fields of the calcination, melting processes and dust recycling from off-gas treatment unit.  A specific calcination mock-up was developed and is used for the determination of the calcination reactions and the heat transfers. A dust recycler mock-up was designed to represent the flows and volumes involved and can be connected to a furnace mock-up generating a gas flow representative of a hot melter.  A furnace mock-up, which can be fed with solids and liquids streams, is used to study glass production reaction mechanisms.


Simulation and modeling tools

cea img 10cea img 09Modeling tools are used and developed to support knowledge, process development and design work. So, molecular dynamics method is used to simulate the phenomena occurring at an atomic scale during self-irradiation in glass. Specific developments have been also implemented in coupled electromagnetic and thermal hydraulics codes to take into account the large variations in the physical and chemical properties in the molten glass baths as a function of temperature.  


Industrial scale prototypes and facilities

cea img 11A team of around 30 mechanical, electrical and I&C engineers and technicians is in charge of round-the-clock operations on industrial-scale facilities and prototypes, as well as for operational maintenance.
The Evolving Vitrification Prototype (PEV) comprises a calciner and a melter which can be either a cold crucible or a hot metal pot. This facility is used for R&D programs in support to La Hague industrial facility.
The CFA platform is a calciner-free facility for carrying out continuous experiments in cold crucibles of varying diameters with induction heating through the bottom of the crucible.

The close relationship between the R&D teams and industrial operators enables the LCV to propose attractive waste management solutions, with appropriate schedules and optimized development costs, making allowance for R&D constraints, engineering requirements and the industrial environment.

Proceeding, important dates

Deadline for submission

icon calendarDecember 20th 2013

Paper review feedback deadline

icon calendarFebruary 15th 2014

Final version

icon calendarMarch 15th 2014

Sumglass Gallery


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