Abstract: Materials used in key components of nuclear power reactors, such as the fuel cladding and the pressure vessel, provide shields for the release of highly radioactive isotopes generated in the nuclear fuel to the environment, thus their reliability is an important issue in the safety evaluation. The accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 demonstrated that materials that are considered reliable during normal operating conditions will fail in an extreme accident condition. Subsequently, there has been an international effort on developing materials for Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF). In addition, the development of new generation of nuclear reactors also calls for new materials that may withstand higher temperatures, higher radiation doses and with better performance under severe corrosive conditions. This talk will outline the challenges and status for such developments using recent data from the authors’ own research group as examples. Also, since China is building the most nuclear reactors now and “a nuclear accident anywhere of the world will be an accident of everywhere of the world”, the importance and challenges of collaborating with the Chinese in this area will be discussed.
Bio: Dr. Lumin Wang is a professor of nuclear engineering, and materials science & engineering at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (UM). He came to the US from China in 1982, and received his MS and PhD degrees in Material Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Argonne National Laboratory and a research scientist at the University of New Mexico before joining the faculty of UM in 1997. His research has focused on the study of radiation effects of materials using ion beams and transmission electron microscopy. He served as the director of Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory, a campus-wide material characterization center at UM between 2005 and 2010. Dr. Wang has published more than 400 papers in research journals and delivered more than 100 invited talks internationally. He has been a member of the International Committee of the American Nuclear Society and an adjunct chair professor of Xiamen University of China since 2011. He has taken more than 100 UM students to China to observe the construction of nuclear reactors during the last 8 summers.