Role of Materials to Advanced Nuclear Energy

  • Colin Tong


Nuclear energy holds the promise to provide vast amounts of reliable baseline electricity at commercially competitive costs with modest environmental impact. However, the future of nuclear energy lies beyond the current generation of light-water reactors. Future reactors will be expected to provide additional improvements in safety, maintain high reliability, use uranium resources more efficiently, and produce lower volumes of less toxic solid wastes. Several advanced reactor concepts are under development to meet these demands. In most cases, these designs translate into higher operating temperatures and longer lifetimes, more corrosive environments, and higher radiation fields in which materials must reliably perform. The safe and economical operation of any nuclear power system relies to a great extent on the success of the fuel and the materials of construction. Materials used for fission and fusion-based nuclear engineering mainly include fuels, materials for fuel cladding, moderators and control rods, first-wall materials, materials for pressure vessels and heat exchangers. During the lifetime of a nuclear power system, the materials are subject to high temperature, corrosive environment, and damage from high-energy particles released during fission. The fuel which provides the power for the reactor has a much shorter life but is subject to the same types of harsh environments. This chapter will review and update nuclear energy reactors and the materials challenges that will determine the feasibility of these advanced concepts and define the long-term future of nuclear power.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Tong
    • 1
  1. 1.ChicagoUSA

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