Mixt unity of research between CEA-CNRS-UM2-ENSCM (UMR 5257)
The building has been inaugurated in June 2009, with laboratories opened in the fall 2009 and has obtained authorisation to start experiments including a few grams of depleted uranium and natural thorium in January 2010. Last take-off was from our theory group, who started in October 2009.
But the unit "Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule" existed as a team scattered in several places in France since 2007. Scientific activity began in the fall of 2007 with progressive joining of ICSM of team leaders, co-workers, technicians and students, today with 44 permanent staff and 46 non-permanent scientists (post-docs and students). Also, about 20 master students join the nine teams for a few months every year.
Our practical summer school in Analytical and separation chemistry, is held yearly for a full week including practical sessions since the first edition 2006 in Montpellier. The detailed program of these summer school are reproduced in the Annex, as well as the menu of the Thursday lectures in separation chemistry” Since 2012, the Practical summer school is in common with the associated teams within the Excellence laboratory “CheMISyst”, a project 2012 till 2020 devoted to chemistry using weak so-called Long Range interactions, i.e. molecular interactions beyond binding to the nearest neighbour.
Resources in Uranium are scarce, if only the 235 isotope is used and wastes related to nuclear energy production are potentially dangerous. The use of fast neutrons allows to multiply existing resources in national independence, but will be based on new separation processes, that can be modelled using predictive theory. Understanding and optimizing separation in the nuclear fuel cycle is the central aim of the ICSM. Enlarging this central goal to the needs for chemistry of recycling, for instance, strategic metals crucial for alternative energy, is the natural extension surfaces of needs and development of science, with a srong link for technology and implementation with our 600 colleagues from R. Departments in Marcoule, as well as the chemists form the “Pôle de Chimie Balard du Languedoc-Roussillon”.
A report (Part 1, 2 and 3) that can be downloaded gives an overview of the work published and submitted since January 2009. The nine active research teams still work in the direction of the scientific open questions as defined and published by the French academy in 2007 . Separation chemistry, a branch of physical chemistry, is a key part of « green chemistry ». The science required is the emerging « Nanoscience », as defined by Bernard Bigot, then Haut-Commissaire à l’Energie Atomique at the launching of the ICSM as a project in July 2004.