A prototype nuclear fuel container made from Chinese indigenous materials has passed tests, symbolizing China's ability to localize the storage and transport of nuclear fuel, which an expert said could boost China-made nuclear equipment.
The container, made of the B4C/Al neutron absorbing materials for storing and transporting nuclear fuel and spent nuclear fuel, was developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Metal Research. Spent nuclear fuel is nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor, China News Service reported.
The Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Company has started mass production of the material, the report said.
China has relied on costly foreign neutron absorbing materials used for spent fuel storage, Gui Liming, an expert on nuclear safety systems at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The storage material requires a high corrosion resisting capability as the spent fuel storage is highly radioactive, which could leak, Gui said. The construction of neutron absorbing materials-made containers adds impetus to China's homegrown development, Gui added.
Tests show that the quality of China-made neutron absorbing materials can compete with foreign-developed counterparts.
The Institute of Metal Research said China has been late in developing nuclear energy as well as in developing neutron absorbing materials, which severely constrains China's nuclear energy from being independently developed and exported, China News Service reported.
Researchers have managed to roll and friction stir weld the neutron absorbing materials for the first time. The material can be molded into a tubular structure.