Thursday, June 4, 2020

New Alloy Enables Nuclear Reactors to Safely Work 200 Degrees Hotter

This is significant as a 200 degree gain in the upper limit of the thermodynamic cycle can produce much improved effciency. It also makes all the present designs prospectively obsolete.

Of course the whole industry needs to be rethought top to bottom, particuplarly as superior alternatives do exist in alternatives for grid energy.

We have exploited hydro everywhere, but are only beginning to exploit geothermal.  Throw in the super convenient athmosphere pressure stack and we have three energy sources that respond well be scaling up.

Right now nuclear is heading toward scaling down which is a practical niche for it.  Power pfroduction is not tyhe best use though.  Heat production is lilely the best long term apliication and a hotter cycle is welcome.

New Alloy Enables Nuclear Reactors to Safely Work 200 Degrees Hotter

A team at Idaho National Laboratory in collaboration with groups at Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories, as well as industry consultants and international partners, has for the first time in 30 years gotten a new material, Alloy 617, into the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. A combination of nickel, chromium, cobalt and molybdenum, Alloy 617 can be used in tomorrow’s advanced nuclear plants because it allows higher temperature operation.
Oak Ridge National Labs is developing 3D printing of a nuclear reactor core using Alloy 617. The previously allowed high temperature materials could not be used above about 750o C (around 1,380o F). The new Alloy 617 can be used in design and construction up to 950o C [about 1,750o F]. This will enable new higher temperature concepts.
The achievement means that designers working on new high temperature nuclear power plant concepts now have 20% more options when it comes to component construction materials.
There were only five qualified materials for high temperature nuclear reactors before this one was added.
SOURCES- Idaho National Lab, ORNL

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