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Heavy Metal Summer School, June 12-16, 2023 at SCK CEN, Mol, Belgium

As a research center specializing in heavy liquid metal technology, it seems more than a coincidence that SCK CEN is neighbor to one of the most successful Heavy Metal festivals in the world: the Graspop Metal Meeting (GMM). The GMM begins when the HLM summer school ends. Each participant receives an entrance ticket for Friday June 16, 2023 to enjoy metal and liquids at this unique festival.

The course is organized under the umbrella of the Euratom project Advanced Nuclear Safety Evaluation of Liquid Metal Using Systems. ANSELMUS' objective is to contribute significantly to the safety assessment of heavy-liquid-metal (HLM) systems, in particular ALFRED and MYRRHA as these are included in the roadmap for the development of advanced systems in Europe.

12/06/2023 - 16/06/2023

The summer school will take place at the SCK CEN Lakehouse, Mol, Belgium (Street: Boeretang 201)



- Motivation for HLM-based nuclear systems and design of HLM facilities

- Module on chemistry: introduction to various sources of impurities in HLM and methods of purification

- Module on materials: selection of materials for structural and functional components of reactors

- Module on thermal hydraulics: fundamentals of heat transfer in HLM to provide insight in the thermal hydraulic phenomena occurring in the fuel assembly and primary system


This summer school is aimed at PhD students, post-docs and professionals with a particular interest in the domain of HLM technologies.


To set the frame, the history of HLM-based nuclear systems and the design of the most developed HLM facilities will be introduced.
In a module on chemistry you will be introduced to the various sources of impurities in HLM and to methods for their purification, to oxygen monitoring and control systems, and to the chemistry of radioactive impurities.
In the module on materials you will learn to select materials for structural and functional components of reactors and get acquainted with irradiation damage processes and with liquid metal induced corrosion and its mitigation strategies.
The thermal hydraulics module will start from the fundamentals of heat transfer in liquid metals to provide insight in the thermal hydraulic phenomena occurring in the fuel assembly and primary system. Experimental and numerical tools for the system safety analysis will also be covered.
In the instrumentation module you will get an overview of measurement techniques that can be used in liquid metals.

Please find the draft program here.

Required Knowledge

Participants should have obtained a Master degree in physics or engineering.


For the scientific programme: Dr. Paul Schuurmans
Reactor Research & Engineering
+ 32 14 33 34 45
paul [dot] schuurmans [at] sckcen [dot] be


For the administrative support: Mrs. Kris Pennemans

­SCK CEN Academy
+ 32 14 33 88 53
academy [at] sckcen [dot] be



Participants are invited to send in an abstract (max. one page) before May 22, 2023 for a poster presentation on their research activities.

Learning outcomes

After participation to this course, participants will be able to:

Related to the module on motivation and design:

  • understand the motivation behind the use of HLM coolants in nuclear applications
  • describe the basic design principles for HLM cooled nuclear systems
  • understand the principles that define the requirements and design of an accelerator suited for ADS
  • understand the principles and steps required for spent fuel partitioning and the conversion into transmutation fuel

Related to the module on coolant chemistry:

  • identify different chemical processes occurring in HLM systems and explain their relation to operation and safety
  • list the different sources of impurities in HLM systems
  • describe by which theoretical and experimental methods the different sources of impurities can be quantified
  • explain why and by which methods certain impurities are removed from heavy liquid metal coolants
  • explicate why oxygen control and monitoring is essential for operation of HLM nuclear systems
  • describe by which methods oxygen control can be achieved and explain their operation
  • explain the working principle and different designs of oxygen sensors
  • clarify which chemical processes govern the distribution of radionuclides in a system like MYRRHA
  • explain the physic chemistry of radionuclide evaporation from heavy liquid metals and experimental methods to measure evaporation

Related to the module on thermal hydraulics:

  • explain the general principles of liquid metal heat transfer
  • identify the possibilities and shortcomings of different numerical approaches for liquid metal heat transfer
  • select proper correlations for pressure loss and heat transfer coefficients in liquid metal cooled fuel assemblies
  • estimate the effects of blockages and deformations in fuel assemblies
  • explain the phenomena occurring in heavy liquid metal pools including mixing and stratification, sloshing etc.
  • describe the approach to design and instrument a scaled pool experiment
  • identify the possibilities and shortcomings of system analysis codes for heavy liquid metal cooled reactor systems
  • explain the issues related to system safety in heavy liquid metal cooled reactor systems

Related to the module on materials issues:

  • identify the general principles of selection and qualification of materials for structural and functional components of reactors
  • differentiate between screening tests and characterization of materials properties for design
  • list mechanical properties used for the design of structural and functional components
  • name the degradation effects of heavy liquid metals and neutron irradiation on mechanical properties used in the development of reactor components
  • describe the general principles of liquid metal corrosion and to give an example of mitigation approaches

Related to the module on instrumentation:

  • give an overview of measurement techniques for diagnostics and process monitoring of liquid metal systems


This training course is free of charge, but registration is mandatory (see Registration information).

The following mobility grants can be addressed in order to take part in the Heavy metal summer school: ENEN2plus and ANSELMUS. Applications can be submitted for both grants, but finally only one grant will be attributed per participant.

Find more information on the Academy website

Registration info

To register for this course, an application is mandatory. Your application needs to contain the following information:

  • contact details
  • brief motivation to attend the school (max. 200 words)
  • scientific CV with current position and field of research
  • abstract for a poster presentation on your research project

The application should be sent by e-mail to academy [at] sckcen [dot] be (subject: SCK%20CEN%20Heavy%20Metal%20Summer%20School%202023) () before May 22, 2023.

Participants receive a backstage visit and free concert ticket to the Graspop Heavy Metal Festival.

Travel grants available via ENEN2plus project:


The course is held at the SCK CEN Lakehouse of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, Boeretang 201, BE-2400 Mol, Belgium.

Rooms are pre-booked at Hotel Corsendonck Turnova, Kursaalpoort 10 at the city centre of Turnhout. Please inform the SCK CEN Academy as soon as possible in order to confirm your room reservation via academy [at] sckcencen [dot] be to the attention of Ms Kris Pennemans, as only 20 rooms are available. Daily transport between Hotel Turnova and the course venue will be provided by the course organizer.

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