ORNL: Silicon Carbide-Based Materials Could Offer Superior Tolerance in Light Water Nuclear Accidents

file

Silicon carbide-based materials could offer a superior alternative to zirconium alloys commonly used in fuel and core structures in light water nuclear reactors, according to a team of researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Team lead Yutai Katoh announced preliminary findings yesterday, saying “Fuels and core structures in current light water reactors are vulnerable to catastrophic failure in severe accidents.” This is because zirconium alloys exhibit rapid oxidation kinetics in water vapor environments at very high temperatures.

The study demonstrated that continuous silicon carbide fiber-reinforced matrix ceramic composites offer outstanding safety benefits because they react with water vapor about 1,000 times slower than other commonly used materials. They also retain their strength at temperatures exceeding 3,600 F, allowing them to proportionately reduce the generation of heat and hydrogen.

ORNL’s approach features a dual-purpose coating on the silicon carbide composite cladding wall to alleviate corrosion and gas permeation issues. Read more here.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...