The economical and safe operation of any nuclear power system depends to a larger extent, on the successfulness of construction materials.There are several challengesfor materials in nuclear power systems. For example, nuclear reactors pose a harsh environmentused for component service irrespective of the kind of reactor. The components within the reactor are forced to bear exposure to vibration, stress, and coolant. Degradation of materials can result in a reduction in performance, and in some scenarios, sudden failure. Degradation of materials in a nuclear plant is highly complex because of environmental conditions, several materials, and stress states.
Another challenge is that components in the steam generator side of a nuclear reactor power plant are subjected to degradation. Even though the secondary part of the reactor lacks extra complications of an intense neutron irradiation field, a combination of stress and corrosion, can result in varied forms. Stress-corrosion cracking is found in numerous forms and it may be a restricting factor for component lifetime.The integrity of such components is crucial for reliable generation of power in extended times. Accordingly,it is imperative to understand such types of degradation. Generally, concrete structures also experience undesirable changes because of the violation of provisions and use of unsuitable specifications.
Furthermore, there are various challenges experienced in the development of nuclear fuels for instance; the behavior of in-reactor fuel is complex because it is affected by changes in physical and chemical properties of fuel that emanates from nuclear fission. Other challenges include light water reactor fuel challenges.Most of the globe’s commercial nuclear power plants include the light water reactors.Additionally, thereactor’s high temperatures pose another challenge. High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGRS) are cooled by helium. The high outlet and thermal energy conversion efficiency of HTGRs enhances efficient integration with non-electricity general applications for instance, the process of production of hydrogen or heat that is applicable in petrochemical and other industrial processes whose temperatures range between 300 °C and 900 °C. The main characteristics of this reactor design is the use of helium and graphite as a coolant and the moderator of nutrients and ceramic coated particles as fuel respectively
Important research and development associated with TRISO-coated fuels is ongoing internationally. The present challenge in the fuel system largely focus on expanding the abilities of the TRISO-coated fuel system for higher operating temperatures to enhance the attractiveness of increased operating temperatures gas-cooled reactors as a source of heat for companies. Research is being done to determine techniques that can be used for recycling fuel. Modeling of the physical and chemical behavior of these materials is complicated by the existence of electrons of the outer shell. When it comes to closing the cycle, the total mass used to generate fuel from nuclear production is usually smaller.
In a nuclear system, the performance of material or fuel is determined by carrying out an in-reactor test. This implies that the availability of hot cells, test reactors, and examination equipment’s are necessary to prove the advanced concept principle.Improvements in nuclear energy depend on the development of improved fuels and materials for advanced reactor systems. The formation of the ATR NSUF enables research teams to access specialized structures required for testing advanced fuel concepts and materials and for proper understanding of the understanding of degradation of materials.