15.12.1 Technical Issues

A feature of many of the innovative future designs is their relatively higher outlet temperatures compared with current generation plant. The safety envelopes of many of the component materials may not extend to these temperatures in which case new materials will need to be developed and qualified. Additionally many of the coolants may erode or corrode the surrounding materials, particularly in the high-temperature environments that are exhibited (IEA/OECD (NEA)/IAEA, 2002). There will also need to be materials developments in process systems associated with the applications of innovative reactors, e. g. hydrogen generation.

The high-temperature gas reactors may have outlet temperatures that could be as high as 1500°C. These will require significant advances in high-temperature materials, alloys, ceramics and composite materials. Future water reactors, including supercritical systems, liquid lead and molten salt systems, will also require substantial material developments to withstand both corrosive and high-temperature environments (The US Generation IV Implementation Strategy, 2003).

Anticipated areas of research could include the performance of various material compositions in these environments, the development of protective coatings and research into particular materials for specific applications.

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