Issue No. 36 Spring
(May 2012)


ENS News

Word from the President

ENS launches the ENC 2012 Career Event!

ENS Events

TopFuel 2012

ENC 2012

ETRAP 2013

Member Societies

SFEN’s Annual Convention focuses on “The nuclear industry one year after Fukushima.”

Opinion and knowledge of Austrians about nuclear power

An Mariën wins BNS Thesis Competition for her research into oxygen sensors

BNS Chairman Eric van Walle speaks about the important role played in our society by the BNS

Eighteenth Frédéric Joliot/Otto Hahn Summer School to focus on innovative modular reactors

News from the Hungarian Nuclear Society

SNUS Scientific Expedition to Chernobyl NPP


21st International Nuclear Energy for New Europe Conference, Ljubljana, 5-7 September, 2012

“November Nuclear” at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

YGN Report

PIME 2012: A Young Generation report on Europe’s N° 1 conference for nuclear communicators

RRFM 2012: A Young Generation perspective

Corporate Members

Ansaldo Nucleare, Nuvia and Cammell Laird create wide-ranging nuclear power design and build partnership

The world’s first movie shot on the real NPPs

Dr. Sebastien Couet (KUL) wins the SCK•CEN Prof. Roger Van Geen Scientific Award

European Institutions

A status report on the Implementing Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste Technology Platform (IGD-TP)

ENS World News

National Nuclear Laboratory: providing specialised nuclear technology services for an expanding customer base

ENS sponsored conferences

ENS Members

Links to ENS Member Societies

Links to ENS Corporate Members

Editorial staff

TopFuel 2012

TopFuel 2012
2 - 6 September 2012 in Manchester, United Kingdom


ENC 2012

ENC 2012
9 - 12 December 2012 in Manchester, United Kingdom

ETRAP 2013

ETRAP 2013
13 - 15 March 2013 in Vienna, Austria


An Mariën wins BNS Thesis Competition for her research into oxygen sensors

SCK•CEN (Belgium) scientist An Mariën has won the Belgium Nuclear Society’s (BNS) Thesis Competition, for her investigation into electrochemical sensors that measure the oxygen concentration in lead-bismuth at very low temperatures.

BNS selected three short-listed candidates from among eight entries: Philippe Dejardin (BNEN), An Mariën (BNEN) and John Mitchel Onana Obama (ULB). On 1 March, they presented their theses at a BNS Evening Lecture, in Brussels.

The jury, which was made up of Eric van Walle (BNS Chairman) and 2 members of the BNS Young Generation, selected An Mariën’s thesis as the winner. She will receive € 1,250. As far as the public was concerned, all those present voted for the best presentation. Philippe Dejardin won this prize and received a bottle of champagne and a Bongo-bon gift voucher.

BNS Thesis Competition

From left to right: Eric van Walle (BNS chairman), Hans Naômé (BNS-YG chairman), Philippe Dejardin (BNEN), An Mariën (BNEN) and John Mitchel Onana Obama (ULB).

An Mariën talks about her research into oxygen sensors

An: "As a component of the BNEN Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering curriculum, I wrote a thesis about electrochemical oxygen sensors to measure the oxygen concentration in lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) at temperatures below 400 °C. The development of these sensors is important for the chemical conditioning of the LBE cooling agent in MYRRHA.

Most oxygen sensors that are currently used provide an unreliable result at very low temperatures. The low conductivity of the materials in the sensor could be a possible explanation for this unreliability. This is why I examined sensors that are made of materials with a better conductivity.

I carried out various characterisation studies (with X-ray diffraction, optical and scanning electron microscopy, 4-point conductivity measurements and bending tests) in order to check whether the studied materials complied with the requirements. The sensors were then tested in liquid metals at low temperatures (from -280 to -400 °C).

The results show that the use of more conductive materials does not result in a lower operating temperature of the sensors. This may indicate that the transfer of oxygen between the liquid metal and the sensor is not fast enough to obtain a reliable reading at low temperatures. Further research is therefore required in order to develop adequate oxygen sensors for the MYRRHA cooling agent.

I carried out my thesis with the help of Jun Lim and Kris Rosseel as mentors, and Peter Baeten as promoter. They provided me with excellent support during my research. I could also count on the technical support of many colleagues within the Onderzoek Nucleaire Systemen (ANS – Nuclear Systems Research) and Microstructurele en Niet-destructieve Analyse (NMS – Microstructural and Non-destructive Analysis) units. I would like to thank everybody for their contributions."

The 3 short-listed candidates and the title of their theses

  • An Mariën: Development and calibration of electrochemical oxygen sensors for application in low temperature regions in liquid lead alloys cooled reactors.

  • Philippe Dejardin: Current knowledge of the Molten Corium Concrete Interactions (MCCI) and parameters of importance for representative reactor cases under dry conditions using the MEDICIS code.

  • John Mitchel Onana Obama: Contribution to a risk-informed assessment of the technical specifications of a nuclear power plant.


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