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Zirconium alloy is the core material of nuclear power plant

Nuclear fuel component is the energy source of nuclear power plant, nuclear reactor is the core component, it is directly related to the reliability of nuclear reactors, safety and economy. The zirconium alloy, thanks to excellent neutron physics, mechanical and hydrochemical properties, has become the preferred material for high-performance nuclear fuel components in today's nuclear power plants.
The zirconium alloy material used to make the nuclear fuel assembly is called a nuclear grade zirconium material. Nuclear grade zirconium technology, from the beginning of the nuclear grade sponge zirconium to the manufacture of tubes, rods and strips for nuclear fuel assemblies.
So far, China has not yet developed their own practical high-performance zirconium alloy fuel components, must also rely on foreign imports. Domestic M310 unit from France to buy M5 alloy, AP1000 unit from the United States to buy zirconium niobium alloy.
China's nuclear power technology is the main body of the development of pressurized water reactor, but whether it is pressurized water or heavy water reactor, the fuel components are used zirconium alloy will be encased with uranium in the zirconium tube made of fuel rods,, and then assembled into a fuel assembly into the reactor used. China's current pressurized water and heavy water reactor fuel components and pressure pipes are made of zirconium alloy material.
In addition to meeting the requirements of high temperature, high pressure, corrosion resistance and radiation resistance in the reactor, the nuclear grade zirconium must also have the characteristics of absorbing neutrons for fission reaction. If the zirconium tube material of nuclear fuel absorbs a large amount of neutrons, Affect the core reaction.
According to the country's latest long-term nuclear power plan, by 2020 China's nuclear power installed capacity will reach more than 40 million kilowatts, nuclear grade zirconium's annual demand will reach more than 1,000 tons.
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