Scientists from Russia's Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) have developed thorium nuclear fuel designed for a new generation of innovative nuclear systems, which may also be effective in already existing reactors, a TPU spokesperson said referring to a study published on the website AIP Conference Proceedings.
The spokesperson explained that expansion of the raw material base of nuclear energy in the near future can be achieved by using thorium, the explored reserves of which are very massive.
“In our case, the product of plasma chemical synthesis is nanodispersed powder of a mixture of metal oxides and carbides. This powder is the basis of a new class of nuclear fuel materials, which have characteristics that makes it possible to build fourth-generation nuclear power plants”, TPU’s project supervisor Igor Shamanin, in turn, underscored.
In addition, the scientists managed to study the kinetics of the plasma chemical reactions’ behaviour and to look into how changing the parameters of the plasma may influence its processes.
“For example, if the stability of the plasma flow is not ensured and it is possible to move beyond the working temperature range, the properties of the product will be unsatisfactory”, Shamanin said.
He added that taking control of the parameters and elemental composition of the plasma allows TPU scientists to create new ways of synthesising materials with unique properties.