Advanced Materials: TechConnect Briefs 2015Advanced Materials TechConnect Briefs 2015

Nanotech Commercialization: Safety & Sustainability Chapter 11

Radiation-Damage Robust, Engineered, Self-repairing Meso-Materials

L. Popa-Simil
LAOS - Los Alamos Academy of Sciences, United States

pp. 600 - 603

Keywords: nano-hetero-structure, fusion-fission, hybrid-reactors, direct-energy-conversion, knock-on-electrons

Nuclear power is one of the most compact, long lasting and might be the most safe and environmentally friendly energy source if it might be done right, by achieving the harmony between the nuclear reactions inside and the material structure these reactions took place. The structural materials used inside a nuclear power source, mainly stainless steel, zircalloy, etc., is suffering the radiation damage, and achieving high burnup factors, or near perfect burning is practically impossible using the present metallic alloys, due to safety reasons. Producing robust materials with micro-structure shape memory, like SiN, Ti, composites, etc., whose properties to be constant with neutron fluence, or dose after impaired by radiation damage, come back to the initial structure and recover, process also known as self-repairing mechanism. The application of these materials in nuclear reactors will make possible the increase of reactor lifetime by a factor of 5, allowing burnup factors up to 50% based on breed and burn technology, reducing the need for fuel reprocessing, and may have good applications in space technology. Good understanding of these processes involved in self-repairing, may be applied to electronic devices for space and radioactive environment, and many other applications.