NATIONAL

‘Nanoceramic’ material for safer, cheaper nuclear reactors

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,” said Kumar Sridharan, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S.

The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports . — PTI

Traditionally, water is used as the primary coolant, absorbing the heat released from fission reactions

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