Experimental facilities

the PERSEE Facility
Partagez sur

PERSEE facility

​PERSÉE (French acronym for Experimental platform for research for radioactive effluents purification) is a test bench designed specifically for studying and improving gaseous effluent purification systems ubiquitous in nuclear facilities. A special characteristic of this test bench is its capability to reproduce the temperature and humidity conditions  prevailing in effluents discharged by nuclear facilities from normal operation to severe accident conditions.

PERSEE facility

PERSEE facility

​PERSÉE (French acronym for Experimental platform for research for radioactive effluents purification) is a test bench designed specifically for studying and improving gaseous effluent purification systems ubiquitous in nuclear facilities. A special characteristic of this test bench is its capability to reproduce the temperature and humidity conditions  prevailing in effluents discharged by nuclear facilities from normal operation to severe accident conditions.

​Filling the test box with iodine absobent coal to be tested in PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​Filling the test box with iodine absobent coal to be tested in PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Research context

Limiting releases of radioactive substances into the environment is a major safety issue for the operators of facilities handling those substances. More stringent authorized limits for discharges during normal operation are being issued: they urge research and development efforts to improve existing purification processes or to propose new ones. In accident situations, devices that limit releases make an essential contribution to protecting the public, especially when radioactive iodine is discharged in core melt accidents.

The ventilation systems of nuclear power plants and research reactors are therefore fitted with iodine filters (or "traps"), auxiliary devices aiming to limit releases in all foreseeable situations, including normal operation. These devices are also installed in the ventilation systems of laboratories, factories and hospitals producing or using radioisotopes of iodine, e.g., in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging (iodine-123) or radiotherapy (iodine-131).

​Benoit Marcillaud, analysis technician in the LECEV IRSN laboratory, transfers the container with the radioactive iodine solution from the laboratory to the PERSEE test bench. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Research context

Research context
​Benoit Marcillaud, analysis technician in the LECEV IRSN laboratory, transfers the container with the radioactive iodine solution from the laboratory to the PERSEE test bench. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Limiting releases of radioactive substances into the environment is a major safety issue for the operators of facilities handling those substances. More stringent authorized limits for discharges during normal operation are being issued: they urge research and development efforts to improve existing purification processes or to propose new ones. In accident situations, devices that limit releases make an essential contribution to protecting the public, especially when radioactive iodine is discharged in core melt accidents.

The ventilation systems of nuclear power plants and research reactors are therefore fitted with iodine filters (or "traps"), auxiliary devices aiming to limit releases in all foreseeable situations, including normal operation. These devices are also installed in the ventilation systems of laboratories, factories and hospitals producing or using radioisotopes of iodine, e.g., in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging (iodine-123) or radiotherapy (iodine-131).

​Chemical reactor where gaseous iodine is produced by interaction between dimethyl sulfate and a sodium iodide solution. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​Chemical reactor where gaseous iodine is produced by interaction between dimethyl sulfate and a sodium iodide solution. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Purpose of the facility

​The test bench PERSEE is designed specifically for studying radioactive gaseous effluent purification systems in a nuclear facility under normal operating conditions, but also during a severe core melt accident occurring in a nuclear reactor. It enables experimental research to be carried out on iodine traps in order to improve the mitigation of radioactive releases. The purpose of the PERSÉE facility is to advance the state of knowledge of iodine traps and their built-in adsorbent materials, their characteristics and their domain of operation, in order to contribute to the development of improved or new iodine purification systems.

The PERSEE platform is also designed to study other short-lived radioactive gases (e.g., 18F) in the context of future research programs prompted by evolving regulations.

The PERSÉE test bench takes over from the STEAM facility at Pierrelatte, used until January 2017 for testing the adsorbents making up iodine traps installed in ventilation extraction systems at nuclear facilities.

​Benoît Marcillaud prepares in a glove box the elements used for producing gaseous iodine by interaction between dimethyl sulfate and a sodium iodide solution. Iodine is then transfered in the test lines of the facility.  © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Purpose of the facility

Purpose of the facility
​Benoît Marcillaud prepares in a glove box the elements used for producing gaseous iodine by interaction between dimethyl sulfate and a sodium iodide solution. Iodine is then transfered in the test lines of the facility.  © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

​The test bench PERSEE is designed specifically for studying radioactive gaseous effluent purification systems in a nuclear facility under normal operating conditions, but also during a severe core melt accident occurring in a nuclear reactor. It enables experimental research to be carried out on iodine traps in order to improve the mitigation of radioactive releases. The purpose of the PERSÉE facility is to advance the state of knowledge of iodine traps and their built-in adsorbent materials, their characteristics and their domain of operation, in order to contribute to the development of improved or new iodine purification systems.

The PERSEE platform is also designed to study other short-lived radioactive gases (e.g., 18F) in the context of future research programs prompted by evolving regulations.

The PERSÉE test bench takes over from the STEAM facility at Pierrelatte, used until January 2017 for testing the adsorbents making up iodine traps installed in ventilation extraction systems at nuclear facilities.

​Injection line of air carrying radioactive iodine in the test bench of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​Injection line of air carrying radioactive iodine in the test bench of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Facility description

​The PERSEE test bench is a loop in which the carrier gas of the iodine is air and in which flow rate, temperature and relative humidity can be controlled.

The test bench is made up of two duct lines benefiting from the same ancillary equipment. One is specifically designed for providing services, with the possibility of testing four adsorbent samples simultaneously. The other is used for research activities throughout a wider temperature and relative humidity range; it is composed of a climatic test chamber that can regulate temperatures up to 150°C.

 

Schema-Persee-ENG.jpg 

​On the left, Céline Monsanglant-Louvet, head of the facility, and on the right, Anne-Laure Teppe, technician of the LECEV laboratory. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Facility description

Facility description
​On the left, Céline Monsanglant-Louvet, head of the facility, and on the right, Anne-Laure Teppe, technician of the LECEV laboratory. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

​The PERSEE test bench is a loop in which the carrier gas of the iodine is air and in which flow rate, temperature and relative humidity can be controlled.

The test bench is made up of two duct lines benefiting from the same ancillary equipment. One is specifically designed for providing services, with the possibility of testing four adsorbent samples simultaneously. The other is used for research activities throughout a wider temperature and relative humidity range; it is composed of a climatic test chamber that can regulate temperatures up to 150°C.

 

Schema-Persee-ENG.jpg 

​Anne-Laure Teppe is working on a test line of PERSEE facility. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​Anne-Laure Teppe is working on a test line of PERSEE facility. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Main specifications

​The main specifications of the facility are as follows.

Carrier gas: air.Challenge gas: I2 and CH3I tagged or not with iodine-131, continuous or pulsed.Gas conditioning in terms of pressure (close to atmospheric pressure), humidity (up to 100% at 95°C and 1 m3/h), temperature (up to 140°C), and flow rate (1 to 100 m³/h).Able to study adsorbent materials in sample holders or industrially manufactured items ("glove box" or "dihedron" type traps).Real-time upstream and downstream measurements of iodine (127 or 131) concentration: sampling compatible with test bench thermodynamic conditions.Radioactive gaseous and liquid waste treatment.Potential for integration of new functionalities on demand (injection and sampling of "poisonous" gases, etc.).
​View of the iodine injection circuit of PERSÉE facility. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Main specifications

Main specifications
​View of the iodine injection circuit of PERSÉE facility. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

​The main specifications of the facility are as follows.

Carrier gas: air.Challenge gas: I2 and CH3I tagged or not with iodine-131, continuous or pulsed.Gas conditioning in terms of pressure (close to atmospheric pressure), humidity (up to 100% at 95°C and 1 m3/h), temperature (up to 140°C), and flow rate (1 to 100 m³/h).Able to study adsorbent materials in sample holders or industrially manufactured items ("glove box" or "dihedron" type traps).Real-time upstream and downstream measurements of iodine (127 or 131) concentration: sampling compatible with test bench thermodynamic conditions.Radioactive gaseous and liquid waste treatment.Potential for integration of new functionalities on demand (injection and sampling of "poisonous" gases, etc.).
​On the left, Céline Monsanglant-Louvet, on the right, Anne-Laure Teppe,  and Benoît Marcillaud. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​On the left, Céline Monsanglant-Louvet, on the right, Anne-Laure Teppe,  and Benoît Marcillaud. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Linked research programs

Studies of effectiveness of gaseous iodine purification

These studies relate to installed devices or innovative prototypes in effluent conditions ranging from normal operation to severe accidents.
The PERSEE facility will carry out the tests proposed under the MiRE (Mitigation of Releases into the Environment in a nuclear accident) programme, launched by IRSN in January 2014. This programme, which was selected by the French national research agency (ANR) in the context of its 2012 call (post Fukushima) for research proposals on nuclear safety and radiation protection (RSNR), aims at improving the management of radioactive releases during a core melt accident in a nuclear reactor. The facility has also provided some test results for the European PASSAM (Passive and Active Systems on Severe Accident Source Term Mitigation) programme.

Studies of iodine adsorption mechanisms in all types of adsorbents

It concerns the purification coefficients of a material or trap, to be worked out from its intrinsic physical and chemical characteristics, and from the temperature, relative humidity and flow rate of the carrier gas.
The purpose of this research is to determine the conditions in which different adsorbents operate at their best and thus to identify the conditions that degrade their performances, in order to design new, more reliable and more efficient devices. More specifically, the aims are as follows:

To determine the decontamination factor of an adsorbent characterised by its physical and chemical properties and not solely by its commercial references.To separate the influence of different parameters.To assess the respective contributions of the competing trapping mechanisms.To determine the conditions that favour desorption.To predict the effectiveness of an iodine trap based on the adsorbent characteristics, the thermodynamic conditions in which it is used and the chemical form of the challenging gaseous iodine.

 

​Jean-Christophe Sabroux, IRSN expert, check the parameters of the test bench ont the control screen. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Linked research programs

Linked research programs
​Jean-Christophe Sabroux, IRSN expert, check the parameters of the test bench ont the control screen. © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Studies of effectiveness of gaseous iodine purification

These studies relate to installed devices or innovative prototypes in effluent conditions ranging from normal operation to severe accidents.
The PERSEE facility will carry out the tests proposed under the MiRE (Mitigation of Releases into the Environment in a nuclear accident) programme, launched by IRSN in January 2014. This programme, which was selected by the French national research agency (ANR) in the context of its 2012 call (post Fukushima) for research proposals on nuclear safety and radiation protection (RSNR), aims at improving the management of radioactive releases during a core melt accident in a nuclear reactor. The facility has also provided some test results for the European PASSAM (Passive and Active Systems on Severe Accident Source Term Mitigation) programme.

Studies of iodine adsorption mechanisms in all types of adsorbents

It concerns the purification coefficients of a material or trap, to be worked out from its intrinsic physical and chemical characteristics, and from the temperature, relative humidity and flow rate of the carrier gas.
The purpose of this research is to determine the conditions in which different adsorbents operate at their best and thus to identify the conditions that degrade their performances, in order to design new, more reliable and more efficient devices. More specifically, the aims are as follows:

To determine the decontamination factor of an adsorbent characterised by its physical and chemical properties and not solely by its commercial references.To separate the influence of different parameters.To assess the respective contributions of the competing trapping mechanisms.To determine the conditions that favour desorption.To predict the effectiveness of an iodine trap based on the adsorbent characteristics, the thermodynamic conditions in which it is used and the chemical form of the challenging gaseous iodine.

 

Summary

​Potential applications

Assessment of the purification coefficient of raw materials and manufactured traps intended for iodine retention.Assistance with the development of materials to be used in iodine traps.

Partners

Ecole des Mines, Nantes University of Lille 1 and University of LorraineInstitutional and industrial partners in the MIRE and PASSAM projects

Instrumentation

Generation of continuous or pulsed gaseous iodineSpectrometry, gas chromatographyPressure, temperature and hygrometry sensors, flow metersMaterial characterisation characterization
​Control screen of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Summary

Summary
​Control screen of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

​Potential applications

Assessment of the purification coefficient of raw materials and manufactured traps intended for iodine retention.Assistance with the development of materials to be used in iodine traps.

Partners

Ecole des Mines, Nantes University of Lille 1 and University of LorraineInstitutional and industrial partners in the MIRE and PASSAM projects

Instrumentation

Generation of continuous or pulsed gaseous iodineSpectrometry, gas chromatographyPressure, temperature and hygrometry sensors, flow metersMaterial characterisation characterization
​Overview of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
​Overview of PERSEE facility © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Technical characteristics

​CH3I or I2 tagged or not with iodine-131 (up to 1 GBq)Variable flow rates from 1 to 100 m3/h STPVariable relative humidity from 0 to 95% (at 45°C and 100 m3/h)Variable ambient temperature up to 150°CPossibility of injecting additional gases to study co-adsorption and poisoningSample holder (bulk adsorbents) or manufactured filters testing
​View of the climatic chamber © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis
Technical characteristics
​View of the climatic chamber © IRSN/Francesco Acerbis

Technical characteristics

​CH3I or I2 tagged or not with iodine-131 (up to 1 GBq)Variable flow rates from 1 to 100 m3/h STPVariable relative humidity from 0 to 95% (at 45°C and 100 m3/h)Variable ambient temperature up to 150°CPossibility of injecting additional gases to study co-adsorption and poisoningSample holder (bulk adsorbents) or manufactured filters testing