The project consists of the fundamental study of the coupling effect of irradiation on corrosion of the Zr-xNb alloys, currently used as fuel cladding in nuclear reactors. Zr-based alloys forms integral part of fuel cladding and structural materials for nuclear reactor thanks to their good irradiation stability, corrosion resistance, and desirable mechanical properties in a harsh reactor environment. Out of more advanced Zr-based alloys, Niobium is a common alloying element for newly developed alloys with enhanced functional properties. Currently, only few individuals have studied irradiation’s effect on the corrosion of fuel cladding, and as a result, there are simply not enough accurate and reliable data for the nuclear industry to fully understand and draw conclusions about the degradation mechanisms and their prevention.
The entire project involves significant hands-on irradiation experiments, at the Ion Beam Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as state of the art materials characterization techniques, such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Atomic Probe Tomography (APT). My results would provide insight post-irradiation compositional and structural information to support the ongoing DOE program (ATF, CASL, NEAMS) but also industry via the Mechanistic Understanding of Zirconium Corrosion (MUZIC) consortium led by Westinghouse and EPRI.