As the seventh meeting of the Nuclear Materials Conference (NuMat), approaches, Conference Chair Ann Leenaers provides insight into the nuclear materials and energy field, and how the conference is reflecting its development. Zainab Amar reports.

NuMat was originally created in 2012, in association with the Journal of Nuclear Materials, and aims to showcase broad topics in nuclear materials science.  According to Dr. Ann Leenaers, Conference Chair, NuMat 2022 will continue to focus on broad topics of interest in nuclear materials science, such as structural components and fuel systems, but will also reflect the recent evolution of the nuclear materials and energy field. One example of this is decommissioning, Leenaers explains: as nuclear reactors reach the end of their lifecycles, the research alongside this theme will have heightened importance too.

With these types of challenges in mind, NuMat 2022 has added workshops (under a third track) to cover special topics such as cement and ceramics, focusing for example on concrete contamination over the course of its operational lifetime in nuclear reactors; or cementation of radioactive waste. Other hot topics covered include polymers (such as the aging mechanism during long term operation) as well as advanced manufacturing. “I am especially excited about the advanced manufacturing aspect of the conference”, Leenaers added, “as these sessions will outline differing approaches to today’s material engineering challenges, using innovative technology such as additive manufacturing (3D printing)”.

Leenaers expanded that the rapid pace of advancements in additive manufacturing (AM) and the integration with computational science, is completely changing the way nuclear systems are being designed, built and certified:

“The components used in the nuclear energy industry today rely on materials developed many decades ago. AM is a fairly new process of fabricating complex three dimensional objects via layer-by-layer deposition of the raw materials from computer-generated geometry models, without the constraints of conventional casting, forging, and machining processes. The inherent characteristics of AM technologies allow for rapid prototyping and geometric freedom, making it possible for the nuclear industry to tackle the problems related to obsolete components and reactor efficiency and safety.”

NuMat 2022, taking place 24-28 October 2022, in Ghent, Belgium aims to showcase and push forward the field of Nuclear Materials, as well as bring together the different communities to connect again following the pandemic.


  • Alongside the tracks of the conference, there will be an opening plenary from Yves Brechet, a world-renowned Nuclear Materials scientist, and the 2022 winner of the Robert Cahn award, announced in June 2022.
  • There will be a presentation by the “best paper prize” recipient from the Journal of Nuclear Materials.
  • NuMat 2022 will take place 24-28 October 2022, in Ghent, Belgium. See here for more details