Title: Traceability improvement of high temperature thermal property measurements of materials for new fission reactors
Citation: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON NUCLEAR SCIENCE vol. 61 no. 4 p. 2112 - 2119
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC79400
ISSN: 0018-9499
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC79400
DOI: 10.1109/TNS.2014.2300552
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Generation IV nuclear reactors are one of the solutions that could best meet the goals of sustainable, safe, and competitive energy production. As their operating temperatures are much higher than those of both current pressurized and boiling water reactors, the choice of materials is even more of a key issue for the design and construction of these new fission reactor concepts. The thermal properties of the used materials can be indeed affected by neutron irradiation at high temperature. It is therefore fundamental to dispose of reliable data on the thermal behaviour of the materials in normal and off-normal operating conditions in order to check if they fulfil the requirements in terms of temperature and lifetime. Thermal characterizations of irradiated materials and nuclear fuels, that must be carried out under safe manipulation conditions, are performed up to very high temperatures by nuclear research institutes with some dedicated facilities. These institutes need reference materials certified at least up to 2000 °C, in order to calibrate the devices that they use to measure thermophysical properties. Three National Metrology Institutes (LNE, PTB, and NPL) and the Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU) collaborate on a study aiming in particular to extend to very high temperature the measurement capabilities of their reference metrological facilities devoted to thermophysical property measurements. Two complementary facilities based on different metrological approaches for the measurement of normal spectral emissivity up to 1500 °C, and a very high temperature diffusivimeter have been notably developed. Methods and calorimeters for the measurement of specific heat up to 1500 °C have been also improved. These facilities will enable to perform accurate measurements, directly traceable to the International System of Units, at temperatures close to those encountered in real situations. They have been applied to the measurements of thermophysical properties at high temperature of well known materials (graphite and tungsten) and of materials that could potentially serve as “transfer reference materials” (MgO, Ni, and ZrO2). These candidate “transfer reference materials” were selected because they are non-radioactive and because of their relevance to thermal property measurements on nuclear materials typically investigated at JRC-ITU (e.g. UO2, PuO2, molten salts). This work has been performed in the framework of the joint research project “ENG08 MetroFission” which is supported by the European Metrology Research Programme. This paper describes the metrological facilities that have been implemented for the measurement of the thermophysical properties of solid materials at very high temperature and presents the results of measurements obtained by all partners with these apparatus on some selected materials. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union on the basis of Decision No 912/2009/EC.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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