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Development of Cutting-edge New Material for Nuclear Power and Next-Generation Industries

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Development of Cutting-edge New Material for Nuclear Power and Next-Generation Industries

- KAERI has developed oxide dispersion strengthened tubes d exclusively on its proprietary technologies -
- Highly superior in durability to competing materials developed by 
  advanced countries, and has proven
feasibility of commercialization -


Recent research accomplishments, intended for nuclear power plant applications, have attracted substantial interest from research communities developing high value-added next-generation advanced materials.

On September 4th, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI, headed by President Jaejoo Ha) announced the successful development of a manufacturing technology to produce new Oxide Dispersion Strengthened (ODS) materials and tubes for the first time in Korea.

The ODS material is a high-strength heat-resistant alloy with nano-sized heat resisting oxides, which are finely and uniformly dispersed through its steel matrix. The ODS material is highly resistant against deformation at high temperatures, and its material structure, even when exposed to neutrons, is not easily affected by external factors. For those reasons, it attracted attention as a promising core material for various applications, including nuclear fuel cladding, aircraft engines, turbine blades, nozzles for vessel engines, and spacecraft components. Its potential scope of applications is now extending to aerospace, national defense, thermal power generation, and maritime industries.

  Serious efforts to develop high-strength ODS materials began several decades ago in advanced countries, including the US, Japan, and France. In Korea, notable research efforts, mainly driven by KAERI, have also been actively pursued to develop ODS materials for nuclear power plant components. As a result, a new ODS material was recently developed using 3D laser printing technology.    

 KAERI research team, led by Dr. Tae Kyu Kim, has carried out research to develop ODS materials for nuclear fuel cladding since 2012. As part of its accomplishments, the KAERI team successfully developed Advanced Radiation Resistant ODS Steel (ARROS) and registered patents for the invention at home and in Japan. Furthermore, in cooperation with Shinhan Metal, a domestic SME specializing in ultra-high-precision tubes (headed by Geum-soon Shin), the researchers developed a high-precision tube for nuclear fuel cladding applications (diameter 7.4 mm, thickness 0.6 mm, and length 3,000 mm), thereby demonstrating the feasibility of commercialization.

  In advanced countries, while ODS material manufacturing methods have become common, it should be noted that the performance of such manufactured materials significantly varies depending on the mixing ratio and composition of oxides. The development of ARROS was achieved following numerous attempts to find the optimal oxide mixing ratio and composition. This material was verified as highly superior in durability to globally recognized high-performance ODS materials, when tested under the same temperature and pressure conditions.

  KAERI will continue research to verify the neutron irradiation performance of ARROS inside reactors, and use it as a material for nuclear fuel cladding. Also, efforts are underway to extend its scope of applications to various industrial sites. As part of these efforts, the institute is now discussing with corporations how ARROS can be utilized for the fuel injection nozzles of large-scale vessels. 

  Dr. Tae Kyu Kim, leading the KAERI research team, said, These research accomplishments will serve as a demonstration of nuclear power technology actually being applied to various industrial fields, other than nuclear power, including thermal power generation, nuclear fusion, ships, national defense, aerospace, and other next-generation industries. He added, The development of ARROS will help the domestic ODS material industry lead the way in technology innovation and become more competitive in the global market.