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PI: Prof Claire Corkhill
The HADES Facility at the University of Sheffield is established as a national centre of research excellence to support the UK nuclear decommissioning and disposal programme, as part of the National Nuclear User Facility. The Facility is accommodated within 500 m2 of high quality radiomaterials chemistry laboratories, refurbished in 2015, with state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation for materials formulation, processing, characterisation and performance assessment.


All HADES laboratories are designed and operated as supervised areas, for research with limited inventories of radioactive materials (unsealed sources). Controlled area laboratories enable work with MBq quantities of α and β γ nuclides. The integrated nature of the Facility enables acceleration of materials optimisation, through rapid feedback between synthesis and characterisation.


The Facility is organised in a suite of capability platforms, for working with radioactive materials:


•    Materials handling. Enabling glove box manipulation of α and β γ  nuclides under air or inert conditions (<ppm O2, <ppm H2O); comprehensive metallography suite with equipment for cutting and sectioning of materials, grinding and polishing.

•    Materials processing. Thermal treatment of materials up to 1800oC under controlled atmosphere, with off gas analysis and quenching capability; the platform incorporates the UK’s only radiological Hot Isostatic Press operating up to 2000oC and 200 MPa; suite of ball mills.

•    Diffraction and spectroscopy. Including: X-ray diffraction (room temperature; high temperature and controlled atmosphere to 1200oC; grazing angle capability); Raman and IR, 57Fe Mossbauer; X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy (XES, XANES, EXAFS).  

•    Microscopy and microanalysis. Optical microscopy; scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis; and – via the Sheffield Hub of the Royce Institute – atomic force microscopy, optical profilometry, and electron probe microanalysis.

•    Thermal and physicochemical analysis. Coupled thermo-gravimetric, differential thermal / scanning calorimetry, and mass spectroscopy analysis; surface area analyser; pycnometer; particle size analyser; and high temperature glass rheology.

•    Chemical and radiochemical analysis. Inductively coupled plasma optical emission and mass spectroscopy (ICP-OES, ICP-MS); ion chromatography; liquid scintillation counting; wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis; total carbon and nitrogen analysis (coming soon).

•    Wasteform alteration and dissolution. Suite of ovens and equipment for batch and dynamic corrosion experiments, under controlled atmosphere, for short and long duration corrosion experiments.

•    Radiometrics and radiological protection.  High resolution γ-spectroscopy; fixed personal contamination monitors in controlled areas; a suite of large area survey meters, contamination monitors, and dose rate detectors are available; personal dosimetry available if required.


The HADES Facility was established with investment of £1M by UKRI EPSRC and the University of Sheffield, in new state-of-the-art materials processing and characterisation equipment, to enable higher throughput research and work with high radionuclide inventories. The Facility additionally incorporates prior investment of ca. £8M in laboratory refurbishment, space, and equipment, within the MIDAS facility, and allied Royce Institute, to provide a single point of user access. Access to the STX Facility, the UK's first capability for laboratory based X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, is also available.


A trained team of highly experienced researchers and experimental officers support operation of the Facility, providing user training, supervision, and equipment calibration and servicing. Access to the facility may be in person, remote, or sample mail in.


HADES Facility Poster:

Scientist performing inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy

Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy


Scientist performing Raman microspectroscopy

Raman microspectroscopy


Scientists in analytical radiochemistry laboratory

Analytical radiochemistry laboratory


Scientist performing multimodal thermal analysis

Multimodal thermal analysis



NNUF-HADES is open for research within appropriate COVID-19 control measures. Please do reach out to the NNUF-HADES team, to start discussing access, at any point.


The HADES Facility for High Activity Decommissioning Engineering & Science: part of the UK National Nuclear User Facility, N.C. Hyatt, C.L. Corkhill, M.C. Stennett, R.J. Hand, L.J. Gardner, IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 818, 012022, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/818/1/012022.


Text and images © University of Sheffield.