Nuclear energy is anticipated to continue contributing to the energy portfolio across the world as one of the important sources of electricity. While the current fleet nuclear power plants demonstrate outstanding reliability, advanced materials are the key enabling technologies to enhance the safety, public acceptability, performance, and sustainability of the nuclear power. For example, silicon carbide-based ceramics and their composite materials are actively considered for fuels, core, and other structural functions in nuclear reactors. However, toward the use of these relatively new materials, there identified significant research and development opportunities. In this presentation, the current status and challenges of ceramic and composite materials technologies for nuclear power will be discussed with the main focus on silicon carbide and its composites.
This research is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences and Office of Nuclear Energy, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with UT-Battelle, LLC.