- Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have created a nanoceramic material, which may be used in next-generation nuclear reactors that will operate at higher temperatures and radiation fields, producing energy more efficiently and economically.
- Tougher under radiation
- The material can not only withstand the harsh effects of radiation, but also becomes tougher under radiation, researchers said.
- Traditionally, water has been used as the primary coolant in reactors, absorbing the heat released from fission reactions.
- Though water poses fewer risks of corrosion damage to materials, there are also limits to the temperatures up to which water-cooled reactors can operate — and in advanced reactors, increasing their temperature is the best way to increase energy production.
- New coolants, such as liquid metals like sodium and lead, are effective at much higher temperatures, but also are much more corrosive to the materials from which a nuclear reactor is made. “There is a preferred use of metallic materials for structural components, but many of these materials cannot withstand high-temperature corrosion in advanced reactors.