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Development of novel coolant chemistry for use in dynamic reactor systems

Project Description

The performance of nuclear power plants, including pressurised water reactors (PWRs), can be affected by the formation of corrosion deposit. This loosely adherent corrosion product is called CRUD from the acronym Chalk River Unidentified Deposit, where it was first observed.

CRUD plays a key role in determining the out-of-core or shutdown radiation field, but it is also responsible for localised deposition on the steam generator tubing of PWR nuclear power plants, and reduces the heat transfer and hydrodynamic efficiency of the steam generators.

Understanding the environment interactions with structural alloys employed in current and future generations of light water reactors is of strategic importance for Rolls-Royce, the industrial collaborators. This topic has been the focus of extensive research in the past few years between The University of Manchester and Rolls-Royce.

The current chemistry in most western PWRs is based on the use of Li hydroxide as alkalising agent and hydrogenated water to maintain reducing conditions. However there are a number of drivers to investigate different coolant chemistry systems.

Therefore the present research will explore the implementation of novel water chemistries and inform mechanistic understanding of the interaction between the dynamic flow of the reactor coolant (high temperature, alkaline, hydrogenated water) and the structural alloys. The research activity will benefit from the consolidated interaction between the supervisory team and Rolls-Royce staff. In particular, the fundamental findings obtained during the PhD research will be regularly shared with the industrial partners, such as how their relevance to practical operating PWR conditions can be assessed and challenged. Quarterly meetings with the extended supervisory team will ensure knowledge transfer and, if needed, realignment of the research activities.

The experimental work will be performed in simulated reactor coolant using the Materials Performance Centre and Henry Royce Institute suite for research on high-temperature, high-pressure flow systems; such facilities have been specifically designed for advanced testing in simulated reactor coolant. The materials will be characterised using advanced analytical techniques available in the Electron Microscopy Centre.


Funding Notes

The programme is funded by EPSRC, industrial partners and participating institutions


Two required, one should be academic

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