Laser cleaning study was performed on prepared samples using a nanosecond pulsed ytterbium fiber laser. To prepare samples, AISI 304L stainless steel samples were oxidized and implemented with non-radioactive contaminants in a controlled manner. In order to validate the cleaning process for metallic equipment polluted in nuclear installations, two types of contamination with europium (Eu) and with cobalt (Co) were studied. Eu was used as a simulator-product resulting from uranium fission, while Co — as an activation-product of nickel, which is a composing element of a primary coolant system of a reactor. The oxide layers have suffered laser scanning which was followed by the furnace treatment to obtain thicknesses in the range of 100 nm to 1 μm depending on the oxidation parameters  with a mean weight percentage of 1% of Eu and 1 % of Co in the volume of the oxide layer. Glow Discharge Optical Emission (GD-OES) and Mass Spectrometry (GD-MS) analyses have been performed to assess the efficiency of the cleaning treatment and to follow the distribution of residual contamination with a detection limit of 0.1mg/kg of Eu and Co. Decontamination rates up to 95.5 % were obtained.
One of the identified reasons for this limitation is that the radionuclides are trapped in surface defects like micro cracks [2, 3]. Therefore, cleaning treatments have been applied on surface defects with controlled geometry and a micrometric aperture obtained by laser engraving and juxtaposition of polished sheets of AISI 304L stainless steel. The goal of this study is surface decontamination without either welding or inducing penetration of contamination into the cracks. GD-MS analysis and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were performed to analyze the efficiency of the treatment and the diffusion of contaminants in this complex geometry.