Materials Challenges for Nuclear Reactors
Dr. Claudia Gasparrini, Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Department of Materials, Imperial College, London
In a world where energy demand is increasing and there is an urgent need to limit CO2 emissions, nuclear power is regaining credibility as a robust source of electricity supply. Public opinion on nuclear power has changed throughout the years and its most recent low point was straight after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The decision of Japan and Germany to shut down their nuclear fleet (temporarily or permanently) may have negatively influenced public perception. Nonetheless, we are now witnessing a sort of “nuclear renaissance” where private investment is increasing and this is providing the opportunity to engineer new types of reactor and allowing industry to explore a variety of nuclear fuels. This talk discusses the challenges and research advances in the nuclear industry with focus on accident tolerant/advanced technology fuels.
Dr. Claudia Gasparrini is a Research Associate in the Centre for Nuclear Engineering in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London, London, UK. She is currently researching the phenomenon of neutron irradiation embrittlement of nuclear reactors pressure vessel steels in Dr. Mark Wenman’s group. Her research interests span from nuclear fuels, plant decommissioning and advanced materials. She is currently collaborating with the Dr. Edward Obbard, Dr. Patrick Burr and the Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation on advanced technology fuels which aim to improve the efficiency of nuclear reactors. The collaboration with the University of New South Wales started in October 2018 and is continuing throughout 2019 thanks to a Faculty Women in Engineering Travel Award.