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Safe Nuclear Reactor Developed
12.11.2007 14:02
Safe Nuclear Reactor Developed

Russian scientists found out what usually happens with metals after long-term exposure to neutron radiation. The research resulted in some recommendations how to make steel for safe nuclear reactors.
      
      Researchers studied nuclear databases and developed algorithms and software for predicting transformations of chemical elements under exposure to neutrons with given energies. Since thermonuclear fusion is a source of energy, generating fast neutrons with high penetration power, walls and other parts of a reactor often become a source of induced radioactivity, caused by previously stable metal isotopes, which turn radioactive.
      
      Iron is the essence of any steels, including radiation-proof and heat-resistant steels, which usually are used for building reactors. Iron loses radioactivity after several tens of years and becomes safe for reactor staff. However, some other elements, such as niobium, molybdenum, nickel, aluminum, show extremely long-living radioactive isotopes. Thus, steels for nuclear reactors should contain safe alloy additives and undergo careful control before becoming a wall in a highly radioactive environment.
      
      Source: Science News


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