Development of Materials and Fuel Elements for Propulsion Reactors and Small Nuclear Power Plants: Experience and Prospects

Research paper by G. V. Kulakov, A. V. Vatulin, S. A. Ershov, A. A. Kosaurov, Yu. V. Konovalov, A. V. Morozov, V. I. Sorokin, V. V. Fedotov

Indexed on: 04 Mar '16Published on: 04 Mar '16Published in: Atomic Energy


The primary stages in the develop of disperse fuel elements for the cores of propulsion reactors, floating power-generating units, and small- and medium-size nuclear power plants are analyzed. The experience gained in developing fuel elements for the reactor cores of nuclear ships and the evolution of cladding materials (corrosion-resistance steel, zirconium alloys, and chromium-nickel alloy), fuel, and fuel-element design are analyzed. It is shown that the designs and technologies guaranteeing the reliability and life characteristics of fuel elements in the reactor cores on nuclear ice breakers have now been developed. The use of the new materials opens up paths for significantly increasing the performance and service life of reactor cores as well as decreasing nuclear fuel enrichment while preserving the primary decisions made in the designs and fabrication technologies.