Enfission and PUMA laboratory are conducting scientific work on innovative metallic UZr material

“It is a great honor and excitement for Lille’s researchers to have been selected as Partner to Enfission, a US-based Company, said Lionel Montagne, Lille Research Vice-President. This International collaboration is a key element of the French scientific contribution to the stakes of our modern world, such as climate change. The fundamental researches being conducted on new materials application in a complex environment is a real excitement for our scientific community, creating new opportunities and challenges”.

mapImage courtesy of FreeVectorMaps.comIn the nuclear fuel industry, the accurate and fundamental understanding of alloys’ characteristics, from the very beginning, is critical to the definition of the fabrication processes’ parameters and to all design calculations and models, to predict the product behavior.

Located on the scientific campus of Lille University, at Villeneuve d’Ascq (France), the PUMA (Powder Uranium Metallurgy) laboratory is conducting research works in material chemistry, physical metallurgy and modeling for the understanding of fundamental behaviors of Enfission’s new metallic material for nuclear power plants.

pumaPUMA was born on the grounds of a long collaborative history between Cerca™’s R&D Department and Lille’s laboratories. Inaugurated in presence of Enfission’s and Genesis representatives on November 20, 2018, the mission of the lab is to support the nuclear industry with impactful projects.

Through this collaboration, Enfission benefits from the access to exceptional capabilities and platforms of the prestigious Chevreul Federation.

Bertrand Stepnik and Olivier Tougait are co-managing the PUMA laboratory.

StepnikBertrand Stepnik is currently R&D director of the CERCA Division, Fuel Business Unit of Framatome. He obtained his PhD in physic science from Paris VI University (France) in 2001 and holds an engineer degree from the IIW engineer school, Paris, France. Starting out in academic research and teaching, he worked in Paris XI University (France) in 2001 and 2002. He then joined AREVA as neutronic code developer in charge of improving neutronic models for power plant nuclear cores and moved to Romans site as project manager in charge of mechanical components for nuclear power plant reactors and research reactors, where he took growing management responsibilities of fabrication teams and method team. Since 2011, he is in charge of the CERCA Division R&D department within the Fuel Business Unit of Framatome. He then developed 8-years’ experience in metallic fuel R&D. Since 2015, he is Framatome senior expert in metallurgy and powder metallurgy for nuclear fuels and medical target fabrications.

TougaitOlivier Tougait studied at the University of Rennes1 where he obtained a PhD in Chemistry, specialty materials, in 1998. His thesis focused on the study of crystallochemical and magnetic properties of binary tellurides and ternary uranium and rare earths. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship (1998-2000) in the Department of Chemistry at the American University of Northwestern University (IL, USA) under the direction of Professor Jim Ibers. During this period, he worked on the synthesis and structural characterization of new quaternary oxy-chalcogenides combining rare-earth ions and transition metals. Appointed Associate Professor at the University of Rennes1 in September 2000, he joined the Laboratory of Solid and Inorganic Molecular Chemistry, which became the Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences. He conducted research focused on studying the thermodynamic behavior and physicochemical properties of uranium-based intermetallic compounds. At this time, he consolidated close collaborative relationships with the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) and the Company for the Study and Realization of Atomic Fuels (CERCA, a division of Framatome) for studies applied to research reactor fuels. In September 2104, he joined as Professor the Catalysis and Solid Chemistry Unit to succeed Francis Abraham and developed a partnership research with the French nuclear industry, Orano and Framatome. His work focuses on understanding the key parameters of fuel cycle processes aimed at proposing remedial or innovative solutions. He is the director of the two joint research laboratories associating the Lille supervisory bodies and the CNRS in Orano and Framatome, the LR4CU and the LRC PUMA.