CNNC achieves mass production of nuclear-grade zirconium alloy materials
China’s first batch of self-developed zirconium alloy materials, N36, assemblies of CF3 nuclear fuels, which can meet the demands of third-generation nuclear power technology, passed checks and were delivered for the manufacturing of CF3 nuclear fuel assemblies, according to an announcement by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), on Nov 24.
The development is expected to provide strong support for China’s self-developed third-generation nuclear technology ––the HPR1000–– to “go global” and for the sustainable and sound development of China’s nuclear industry.
Fuel assemblies make up the core of a nuclear reactor, and the safety and reliability of them largely depend on the zirconium alloy cladding. Acting as the “bone” and “skin” of fuel assemblies, zirconium alloy materials constitute the first safety barrier of a nuclear reactor, and are important for a nuclear power plant to function safely and to maintain stable operations. The materials are often cited as an important indicator to evaluate the research standard of fuel assemblies.
For a long time, the nuclear-grade zirconium alloy materials in domestic nuclear power plants were mostly imported from foreign countries. But thanks to CNNC, this industry bottleneck has now been resolved.