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ORNL, PBMR Reach Work for Others Agreement


Technician Measuring Irradiated Graphite

ORNL has signed a Work for Others agreement for the design of a testing program and the preparation, irradiation and subsequent testing of appropriate test specimens for ceramic materials to be used in the core structure of a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) demonstration plant.

The four-year $9.6M agreement with PBMR Ltd., South Africa, is for the design of a material irradiation and testing program, as well as associated services such as project management, quality control and configuration management. Project objective is the characterization of the response of the Core Structure Ceramics (CSC) materials to fast neutron irradiation at elevated temperatures. This is relevant for the operating conditions of the graphite reflector and other components of PBMR core structures.

The current design of the PBMR CSC primarily uses graphite reflector blocks, as well as components fabricated from carbon-fiber-reinforced composites, nongraphitized carbon and fused silica insulation. Material qualification plans for the CSC require specific characterization of property changes expected because of exposure to a fast neutron flux at elevated temperatures.

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