AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) has announced its development of a type of steel to "significantly improve" the neutron-physical properties of a nuclear power reactor's active zones by reducing neutron loss due to parasitic absorption. VNIINM says the new material will also reduce the costs of radioactive waste handling and disposal.
The reduced activation ferritic martensitic steel EK-181 is designed for use in active nuclear and thermonuclear reactors with liquid-metal coolants and operating temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
VNIINM said yesterday it had established the required material-science knowledge on the physical-mechanical, thermo-physical and nuclear-physical properties of low-activated construction materials in the course of developing and preparing the EK-181 steel for industrial use. The results of its research on the steel are protected by two patents and nine know-how licence agreements, and been included in more than 40 articles published in referee journals, it added.
Maria Leontieva-Smirnova, one of the project's developers, said: "Russian steel is quite inferior in its functional properties because traditional ferritic-martensitic steels have a chromium content of about 12%, which significantly exceeds the main low-activated ferritic-martensitic steels produced overseas that have a chromium content of 8-9%."
VNIINM is a subsidiary of TVEL, which is the nuclear fuel manufacturer subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.