Advanced nuclear systems including fusion power and fission power systems require shielding of harmful irradiation for both personnel safety and protection of capital equipment. The goal for next‑generation systems is to operate in compact, high temperature configurations. In typical practice, dense, high‑atomic numbered metals such as steel, tungsten, and lead can be used for the shielding of electromagnetic radiation (x‑ray and gamma‑ray). On the contrary, the shielding of neutrons requires low‑atomic numbered liquids and solids such as water, concrete, paraffin wax, and metal hydrides. These materials, used concurrently, are generally effective. However, they are not compact or effective at high temperatures. Thus, there is a desire to realize a single shield material which can operate at high temperatures and is effective in shielding both electromagnetic irradiation as well as neutrons.
Researchers at Stony Brook University propose a two‑phase composite material with a fully‑dense ceramic matrix and an entrained metal hydride phase for electromagnetic irradiation and neutron shielding. The ceramic matrix is made up of Magnesium Oxide, which is an extremely high‑temperature irradiation stable refractory material. It is made with the addition of 1% Lithium Fluoride as a sintering aid for the suppression of the processing temperature window, as well as a secondary sintering aid such as boron for enhanced neutron absorption. This ceramic material serves as an impermeable matrix for an entrained metal hydride. The combination provides a groundbreaking approach to nuclear irradiation shielding and protection in fusion and fission power systems.
Compact - High temperature - More effective shielding - Shields electromagnetic irradiation and neutrons
Inboard shield for fusion power reactor - Outboard shield for fusion power reactor - Shield for pressure vessels of advanced nuclear power reactor
Lance Snead, , Materials science and Chemical Engineering
Jason Trelewicz, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
Development partner - Commercial partner - Licensing
James Martino, Licensing Specialist, Intellectual Property Partners, email@example.com,
Patent application submitted US-2023-0132031-A1