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 April 2005 Tech News

New Ceramic Matrix Composites Task Group to Address Future Nuclear Energy Systems

ASTM International Subcommittee C28.07 on Ceramic Matrix Composites has formed a task group to address the evaluation of fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composite structures for a future generation of nuclear energy systems. Subcommittee C28.07 is under the jurisdiction of Committee C28 on Advanced Ceramics. The new task group was organized at the January meeting of Subcommittee C28.07.

To advance nuclear energy to meet future energy needs, 10 countries — Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States — have agreed on a framework for international cooperation in research for a future generation of nuclear energy systems, known as Generation IV. “Generation IV nuclear energy systems are an ensemble of nuclear reactor technologies that could be commercially deployed by 2030 and present significant improvements in economics, safety, reliability and sustainability over currently operating reactor technologies,” says Edgar Lara-Curzio, leader of the Mechanical Properties and Mechanics Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In the United States, the leading concept among Generation IV systems is the next generation nuclear plant (NGNP), which is envisioned to be a high-temperature reactor cooled with either helium or a molten fluoride salt. The primary structural material candidates for control rod guide tubes and control rod structural elements in the helium-cooled NGNP include fiber-reinforced SiC/SiC composites because of the resistance of these materials to both high temperature and high radiation exposure.

Subcommittee C28.07 formed the new task group to address the development of standardized test methods for the thermomechanical evaluation of SiC/SiC and C/C tubular structures that would be used for control rod guide tubes and control rod structural elements in the NGNP. The availability of such standards is essential to support the eventual development of design guides for the manufacture and qualification of the aforementioned components. The new task group also serves as a forum for the ongoing collaboration of researchers from the United States and France, who are participating in an International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative focused on the development of these components as part of Generation IV. //

Technical Information:
Edgar Lara-Curzio, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Phone: 865/574-1749

ASTM staff: Carolyn Sheahan
Phone: 610/832-9804

Upcoming Meeting: May 16-17,
May Committee Week, Reno, Nev.

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