Amec Foster Wheeler has received a host of contracts from CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, to conduct radiochemical testing.

Radiochemical testing work started earlier this year and is ongoing. The work entails characterisation of waste elements derived from high-energy accelerators such as the large hadron collider (LHC).

The LHC is considered as the biggest accelerator in the world due to its 17-mile ring of superconducting magnets that steer proton beams travelling almost similar to the speed of light.

CERN headquarters near Geneva has sent samples to be analysed at Amec Foster Wheeler’s laboratories.

Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business consultancy director Greg Willetts said: "CERN is one of the world’s most prestigious science projects and sets very high standards for its suppliers.

"CERN is one of the world’s most prestigious science projects and sets very high standards for its suppliers."

"We have received excellent feedback about the quality of our work and have exceeded CERN’s expectations by delivering fully accredited results within five weeks on average, rather than the three months specified in the contracts.

"We aim to build on this developing relationship with CERN and offer a wider range of Amec Foster Wheeler services. This work complements our strategy to support ‘Big Science’ projects with engineering, project management and scientific consultancy, as well as the work we are doing at ITER, the world’s largest nuclear fusion project."

The LHC has enabled physicists to understand better how ordinary matter is structured and helped confirm the existence of the Higgs boson and discover a new type of particles, called pentaquarks.

When protons shift away from the beam, they tend to collide with magnets or machine components, which in turn generates a low level of induced activity in materials. When certain components are taken away from accelerators, radiochemical testing becomes essential in oder to dispose them in the safest and cost-effective manner.

Amec Foster Wheeler’s radiochemical laboratories conduct independent testing for nuclear operators, research institutes, decommissioning contractors, contaminated land consultants, local authorities, regulators, water companies and defence establishments.

Image:Amec Foster Wheeler’s clean energy business consultancy director Greg Willetts. Photo: courtesy of Amec Foster Wheeler.