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UT-ORNL Researchers Develop New Radiation-Resistant Material

February 25, 2020

Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear power accounts for roughly 20 percent of the electricity produced in the US, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Thanks to the presence of the Tennessee Valley Authority, that number is even higher in the region it serves, with a third of TVA customers relying on nuclear energy.

Keeping nuclear power plants running requires materials that can withstand factors like radiation, pressure, and heat, so any advancement that better addresses those issues is of benefit to the plants and their customers.

“Alloys and materials used in reactors should be durable and stay strong for a long time,”” said Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Yanwen Zhang, who has a joint appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. “In order to be as efficient as possible, you have to make it so outages and repairs are few and far between.”

A group of UT and ORNL researchers, including Zhang; William Weber, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Radiation Effects on Materials; and Takeshi Egami, UT-ORNL Distinguished Scientist, has developed a breakthrough material that helps address those concerns.


Related Publication: Zhang, Y., Egami, T., Weber, W.J. (2019). Dissipation of Radiation Energy in Concentrated Solid-Solution Alloys: Unique Defect Properties and Microstructural Evolution. MRS Bulletin 44(10), 798-811.