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Title: Assessing the Effects of Radiation Damage on Ni-base Alloys for the Prometheus Space Reactor System

Abstract

Ni-base alloys were considered for the Prometheus space reactor pressure vessel with operational parameters of {approx}900 K for 15 years and fluences up to 160 x 10{sup 20} n/cm{sup 2} (E > 0.1 MeV). This paper reviews the effects of irradiation on the behavior of Ni-base alloys and shows that radiation-induced swelling and creep are minor considerations compared to significant embrittlement with neutron ,exposure. While the mechanism responsible for radiation-induced embrittlement is not fully understood, it is likely a combination of helium embrittlement and solute segregation that can be highly dependent on the alloy composition and exposure conditions. Transmutation calculations show that detrimental helium levels would be expected at the end of life for the inner safety rod vessel (thimble) and possibly the outer pressure vessel, primarily from high energy (E > 1 MeV) n,{alpha} reactions with {sup 58}Ni. Helium from {sup 10}B is significant only for the outer vessel due to the proximity of the outer vessel to the Be0 control elements. Recommendations for further assessments of the material behavior and methods to minimize the effects of radiation damage through alloy design are provided.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), Niskayuna, NY
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
883660
Report Number(s):
MDO-723-0043
TRN: US0603539
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC12-00SN39357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 42 ENGINEERING; 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; ALLOYS; CONTROL ELEMENTS; CREEP; EMBRITTLEMENT; HELIUM; HELIUM EMBRITTLEMENT; IRRADIATION; NEUTRONS; PRESSURE VESSELS; RADIATIONS; SCRAM RODS; SEGREGATION; SOLUTES; SWELLING; TRANSMUTATION; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; NRPCT

Citation Formats

T. Angeliu. Assessing the Effects of Radiation Damage on Ni-base Alloys for the Prometheus Space Reactor System. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/883660.
T. Angeliu. Assessing the Effects of Radiation Damage on Ni-base Alloys for the Prometheus Space Reactor System. United States. doi:10.2172/883660.
T. Angeliu. Thu . "Assessing the Effects of Radiation Damage on Ni-base Alloys for the Prometheus Space Reactor System". United States. doi:10.2172/883660. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/883660.
@article{osti_883660,
title = {Assessing the Effects of Radiation Damage on Ni-base Alloys for the Prometheus Space Reactor System},
author = {T. Angeliu},
abstractNote = {Ni-base alloys were considered for the Prometheus space reactor pressure vessel with operational parameters of {approx}900 K for 15 years and fluences up to 160 x 10{sup 20} n/cm{sup 2} (E > 0.1 MeV). This paper reviews the effects of irradiation on the behavior of Ni-base alloys and shows that radiation-induced swelling and creep are minor considerations compared to significant embrittlement with neutron ,exposure. While the mechanism responsible for radiation-induced embrittlement is not fully understood, it is likely a combination of helium embrittlement and solute segregation that can be highly dependent on the alloy composition and exposure conditions. Transmutation calculations show that detrimental helium levels would be expected at the end of life for the inner safety rod vessel (thimble) and possibly the outer pressure vessel, primarily from high energy (E > 1 MeV) n,{alpha} reactions with {sup 58}Ni. Helium from {sup 10}B is significant only for the outer vessel due to the proximity of the outer vessel to the Be0 control elements. Recommendations for further assessments of the material behavior and methods to minimize the effects of radiation damage through alloy design are provided.},
doi = {10.2172/883660},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jan 19 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Thu Jan 19 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Technical Report:

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  • Ni-base alloys were considered for the Prometheus space reactor pressure vessel with operational parameters of {approx}900 K for 15 years and fluences up to 160 x 10{sup 20} n/cm{sup 2} (E > 0.1 MeV). This paper reviews the effects of irradiation on the behavior of Ni-base alloys and shows that radiation-induced swelling and creep are minor considerations compared to significant embrittlement with neutron exposure. While the mechanism responsible for radiation-induced embrittlement is not fully understood, it is likely a combination of helium embrittlement and solute segregation that can be highly dependent on the alloy composition and exposure conditions. Transmutation calculationsmore » show that detrimental helium levels would be expected at the end of life for the inner safety rod vessel (thimble) and possibly the outer pressure vessel, primarily from high energy (E > 1 MeV) n,{alpha} reactions with {sup 58}Ni. Helium from {sup 10}B is significant only for the outer vessel due to the proximity of the outer vessel to the BeO control elements. Recommendations for further assessments of the material behavior and methods to minimize the effects of radiation damage through alloy design are provided.« less
  • The purpose of this letter is to request Naval Reactors comments on the nuclear reactor high tier requirements for the PROMETHEUS space flight reactor design, pre-launch operations, launch, ascent, operation, and disposal, and to request Naval Reactors approval to transmit these requirements to Jet Propulsion Laboratory to ensure consistency between the reactor safety requirements and the spacecraft safety requirements. The proposed PROMETHEUS nuclear reactor high tier safety requirements are consistent with the long standing safety culture of the Naval Reactors Program and its commitment to protecting the health and safety of the public and the environment. In addition, the philosophymore » on which these requirements are based is consistent with the Nuclear Safety Policy Working Group recommendations on space nuclear propulsion safety (Reference 1), DOE Nuclear Safety Criteria and Specifications for Space Nuclear Reactors (Reference 2), the Nuclear Space Power Safety and Facility Guidelines Study of the Applied Physics Laboratory.« less
  • Radiation damage produced in the order-disorder alloys Ni/sub 4/Mo and Pt/sub 3/Co by low-energy (500-2500 eV) Ne/sup +/ ions has been observed directly, on an atomic scale, employing the field-ion microscope (FIM) technique. A new approach was developed to determine the radiation damage distribution in these alloys. In the case of the alloy Ni/sub 4/Mo the measurements were based on the contrast differences between the FIM images of an ordered alloy, which were completely regular, and a disordered alloy which appeared as a random array of image points. FIM specimens of the ordered alloy Ni/sub 4/Mo were irradiated in situmore » at 30/sup 0/K, and the side of the specimen exposed to the beam became disordered as a result of the implantation of the neon atoms. The change from an ordered state to a disordered state was detected by the controlled dissection of the specimen, on an atom-by-atom basis, employing the pulse field-evaporation technique. The amount of disordered metal, which was field-evaporated, to expose the perfectly ordered lattice, and some basic geometric relations gave the depth of radiation damage: the depth resolution was approx. = 2 A. A crystallographic directional dependence of the mean depth of radiation damage (anti x/sub d/) was observed and was attributed to the effect of channeling. For the non-channeling direction the value of anti x/sub d/ varied from approx. = 6 to approx. = 19 A as the irradiation energy was increased from 500 to 2000 eV. The experimental anti x/sub d/ versus Ne/sup +/ ion energy relation agreed with the theoretical predictions of Winterbon, Sigmund and Sanders, and the results of the Monte Carlo computer simulation program, of Biersack and Haggmark, called TRIM.« less
  • This report contains a review of design studies for inertial confinement reactors. The first of three volumes briefly discusses the following: Introduction; Key objectives, requirements, and assumptions; Systems modeling and trade studies; Prometheus-L reactor plant design overview; Prometheus-H reactor plant design overview; Key technical issues and R&D requirements; Comparison of IFE designs; and study conclusions.