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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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02/02/2016

Microscopic behavior of materials: fundamental research enhances IRSN’s safety assessment capabilities


IRSN, CNRS and the University of Montpellier organized a symposium on the theme of Friction, Fracture, Failure, Microstructural Effects, to take stock of progress in the development of micromechanical analysis methods by their joint research structure, the Laboratory for Micromechanics and STructural Integrity (MIST).

More than 65 scientists from organizations across the world attended the symposium, which covered the latest progress in understanding the microscopic behavior of materials and showcased the work of the joint laboratory created in 2008.

This fundamental research directly drives IRSN’s operational assessment capability. Research results include improving our understanding of permeability in cracked concrete, and proposing more realistic behavior laws for nuclear fuel material.

As a result of this research, microscopic models of these materials can now be integrated in macroscopic computer codes. These include SCANAIR, an IRSN code designed to simulate fuel behavior during accident transients such as reactivity injection accidents, which are examined as part of safety demonstrations for nuclear pressurized water reactors.

Future research will continue this work with a focus on acquiring new knowledge, in particular on aging phenomena in steels used to make in-vessel reactor components and in concrete. Future methods and tools will be used to analyze the results of the ODOBA research program, which studies aging in reactor containment concrete.

 

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