|The nuclear ceramics community continues to discover novel processing routes. Drivers of new technology development in nuclear power include reducing cost, improving safety, increasing social acceptability, and creating new opportunities. Research needs include developing improved fuels for current-fleet reactors, advanced reactor concepts, fusion energy, and space propulsion. Ceramic materials play key roles in all of these mission spaces. Novel ceramic processing and innovative materials, components, and designs enabled by advanced processing technologies will contribute to the evolution of nuclear technology.
This special session will bring together scientists and engineers to discuss opportunities and needs for key enabling materials processing for application in nuclear energy systems. This will include the most up-to-date processing science and technology, which realize unique ceramic microstructure, properties, and component geometries that cannot be achieved by traditional processing methods. A variety of materials and applications are of interest: nuclear fuel and fuel assemblies; structural materials for fission and fusion reactors; materials and containment for neutron moderators, reflectors, and shielding; and emerging ceramics-based materials. The processing methods presented are intended for fabricating nuclear-grade materials with the potential to meet the performance requirements of neutronic property and resistance to the nuclear reactor environment. The subject scope incudes, but is not limited to, the following methods:
• Processing for novel ceramics with tailored microstructure and functionality
• Ceramic powder sintering by using localized heating (i.e., field-assisted sintering)
• Pressureless ceramics sintering and joining
• Fabrication using nano-sized precursor powders materials
• State-of-the-art investigations on understanding processing mechanisms by experiments, theory, or both
• Near net shape manufacturing and processing scale up toward industrial scale production