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 EPE  Vol.13 No.4 B , April 2021
Nuclear Power Renaissance Based on Engineered Micro-Nano-Nuclear Materials
Abstract:
Nuclear Power today is in stagnation with a fleet of 440 operational units, due to many drawback factors, as economics, safety, controllability and response time, security and waste management, which all together act as a deterrent to new reactor construction. If the present trend is followed, together with aging of many nuclear plants, by 2040 there will remain less than half of the actual reactors in operation, representing an accelerated decay of the industry. The idea of renaissance of nuclear power is more frequent, but this is not possible without the use of novel materials, based on nano-engineered structures. It is well known that Damascus swords were not possible without the use of Damascus steel, and so the next nuclear technology is not possible without the use of novel micro-nano nuclear materials, which finally dictates the performances of the nuclear structures built with them. As a first approach to modern technology, since 1980s, five types of nuclear materials, able to bring a leap forward in nuclear technology have been identified and studied, which are: 1) Micro-hetero structures able to deal with fission products, that use fission reaction kinematics to self-separate fission products from the nuclear fuel, generically called “Cer-Liq-Mesh”, because simply it consists of a ceramic material stabilized on an elastic mesh or felt, immersed into a drain liquid. This improves the radiation damage, fuel burnup, fission products separation, and specific power density. 2) Nano-Beaded-Hetero-Structures that are using the nano-cluster specific mechanisms to accelerate separation of the transmutation products and place them into a drain liquid, which improves the separation of minor actinides, and radioisotopes production. 3) Nano-hetero structures for direct nuclear energy conversion into electricity, that are resembling a supercapacitor, charged by the moving nuclear particles, and discharges delivering electricity, where the structure is made of repetitive conductive and insulating layers, generically known as “CIci”, some of the variants creating hyperbolic metamaterials, that may deliver electricity and radiation. Using these structures, one may eliminate the thermos-mechanical stage from the actual nuclear-thermo-mechano-electric energy conversion cycle, reducing it at nuclear-electric only and reducing the size of nuclear-electric plant by 90%, creating a fission battery. 4) Radiation damage self-repairing materials made of a “fractal”, multi-material interlaced structure that maintains its properties constant independent of radiation dose. These materials will be used for cladding and structures allowing a near-perfect burning, using breed & burn technology. 5) Radiation guiding structures that are using nano-structures to trap and guide radiation on desired controllable path being used for control systems assuring a micro-second response time, and light shielding allowing the creation of mobile structures.
Cite this paper: Popa-Simil, L. (2021) Nuclear Power Renaissance Based on Engineered Micro-Nano-Nuclear Materials. Energy and Power Engineering, 13, 65-74. doi: 10.4236/epe.2021.134B007.
References

[1]   Popa-Simil, L. (2015) Accelerated Discovery and Design of Nano-Material Applications in Nuclear Power by Using High Performance Scientific Computing. Research and Applications in Global Supercomputing, Chapter 4-5, 83-148. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-4666-7461-5.ch004

[2]   Popa-Simil, L. (2008) Micro-Structured Nuclear Fuel and Novel Nuclear Reactor Concepts for Advanced Power Production. Progress in Nuclear Energy, 50, 539-548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnucene.2007.11.041

 
 
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