Jacomex has successfully realized and installed 21 glove boxes at the Nuclear Material Laboratory (NML) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international organization which watches over the world nuclear activities and seeks to promote the nuclear energies peaceful use and implement nuclear security standards.
Ms Gabriele Voigt, Director, IAEA Office of Safeguards Analytical Services, and Mr. Vladimir Sucha, European Commission Director General for the Joint Research Centre, inaugurate the first newly installed laboratory glove box in the IAEA Nuclear Material Laboratory.
Modernization Program and Role of the NML
This new generation laboratory, partly funded by the European Union, fits into the framework of the larger modernization program of the Safeguards Analytical Laboratories at Seibersdorf (Austria) and takes over the function of its predecessor, running since the 1970s.
The main role of the NML is the analysis of samples gathered during the IAEA’s inspection and control missions around the world. Each highly sensitive sample will go through meticulous analysis in a dedicated and safe area of the laboratory, thus allowing to maintain an operator safe environment and the controls’ quality, and minimize the risks of samples’ pollution.
Tailor-made Glove Boxes
G(Safe) glove boxes work underpressure under filtered air (double Hepa filtration) and are equipped with Vper 120 valves that both ensure a regulation and security flow should a confinement breach accident occur. The air pressure inside the glove boxes is maintained bellow the NM Laboratory’s room air pressure which is regularly filtered ; similarly, the radiations are constantly measured. Optimum conditions are therefore met to measure the actinides’ isotopic concentration and composition in the heavy samples collected by the IAEA’s inspectors.
Tailor-made equipments have also been added to ensure the operators’ safety :
- Hood and filtration inside the glove box to absorb acid steams emanating from the heating plate manipulations,
- Fire alarm and extinction systems that can be controlled from outside the glove box,
- Samples transfer and waste disposal through DPTE system (rapid transfer port) to prevent containement breach.
Scientific Partnership Success
Several European Union Institutes and several Member States have contributed to the NML Laboratory’s realization by the IAEA. The technical datas collected and the contributors’ financial support have ensured the success of the NML building and illustrate a collective move toward long-term cooperation to the implementation of nuclear safeguards.