MagnaTech has been interested in the development of Generation IV type nuclear reactors for three years. Last year MagnaTech submitted a proposal to Department of Energy and it was rejected because MagnaTech had no way to determine the effect of radiation on the surface protection of the alloy they intended to protect.
One serious problem that is holding up installation of these type reactors is finding an alloy that can withstand the severe operating conditions of a Generation IV nuclear reactor. Not only is strength and ductility required for structural purposes, but also corrosion of the surface must be contained to resist the environment in which the nuclear reactor operates. In this case the operating environment is
500 C in lead-bismuth reactor coolant.
MagnaTech has developed a coating that uses a large concentration of atomic carbon and/or nitrogen deposited on the surface, which reacts with the alloying elements contained within the selected alloy to form stable, protective intermetallic compounds.Unfortunately the usefullness of this coating still requires proof of corrosion resistance under the operating conditions of the nuclear reactor. This year, MagnaTech is submitting a similar proposal but in cooperation with a non-profit laboratory. .In joining with the non-profit laboratory, MagnaTech gains the capability of ir radiating the coating to determine the effectof radiation on deterioration of the protective coating and the effect of radiation on the performance of the structural alloy selected. In conjunction with this capability, MagnaTech will independantly determine the corrosion of the coated surface by a lead-bismuth salt at the operating conditions of the nuclear reator at 500 C in this salt solution. Once the basic information is attained, the intent is to combine the irradiation study with the sat corrosion tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of the coating under the operating conditions for this particular Generation IV reactor type.
Should our coating provide the answer to resist corrosion and radiation damage without major change in the structural properties of the alloy selected, a major solution is provided to advance the installaltion of these important new reactors. Stationary nuclear reactors in existance today are at the end of their life cycle, and some even exceed it. The new reactors would have the capability of being placed on a flatbed truck and transported to any site of interest. In this case it may be a swampy polluted water body to convert waste water to either hydrogen fuel and/or good fresh water. In addition, the reactor could be transported to vegitation where the waste could be converted to hydrogen for fuel. Even small localities and factories could benefit through having on site inexpensive elecctricity generared. If used in tandem, then major cities could benefit through the production of electricity. Even the environment gains, because the reactor does not cause poluttants to be released to the atmosphere. In addition, it is safe, being incapable of going critical upon disabling incidents and the nuclear fuel can be replenished without depletion or disturbane of ore bodies.