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FEFU and Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a material for safe "atomic batteries"

26.03.2021 143 просмотров

FEFU and FEB RAS scientists have developed safe materials for the construction of "atomic batteries". 


The "battery" is a heavy-duty ceramic matrix encapsulated a high-energy radionuclide< span style="background: white;"> strontium-90 (90Sr). The material is made by high-pressure pulsed plasma sintering, meets the requirements for solidified radioactive waste (GOST R 50926-96) and can serve as reliable radioactive source of independent power supply for navigation equipment (beacons, radio beacons, light signs) and weather stations of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Article about posted in Nuclear Engineering and Technology

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Stable throughput and navigation accuracy on the Northern Sea Route can be guaranteed by the network autonomous marine navigation devices operating on radiation current sources (RHS). The most promising RHS elements based on high-energy radionuclide strontium-90 (< sup>90Sr, RIT- 90). The thermal energy of its radioactive decay is converted into electricity by thermoelectric generators. 


The FEFU and FEB RAS scientists succeeded in to create a ceramic material with high mechanical strength, microhardness and thermal stability, which is necessary for the safe placement of cores with strontium-90 without the threat of environmental pollution. A power plant ("isotope battery") made from the developed ceramics is one of the examples of the peaceful use of nuclear technology. 


"RIT-90 — closed source ionizing radiation, where strontium borosilicate glass (90SrTiO3) is used as the active composition, not ideal material- candidate, since it is subject to vetrification with subsequent mechanical destruction. Despite protection of the capsule with the active zone from external influences, the current system for handling RHS- 90 does not guarantee the physical protection of the RHS element. Accident, unauthorized removal, or terrorist act may lead to the destruction of the act ivy zone of RHS, release 90Sr in to environment, including sea water. The radionuclide in this way can be involved in the food chain "bottom microorganisms - algae - fish. The composition of the ceramic matrix developed by FEFU and the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences reliably protects the core with strontium-90, no matter what happens,” says one of the authors of the work,Ivan Tananaev, director of the School of Natural Sciences (SHEN) FEFU. 

 

The scientist recalled that any technogenic radionuclides entering the World Ocean are fixed by biota. Radiocesium (137Cs) accumulates in phytoplankton (mainly diatoms), macrophytes, coastal brown and red algae, soft tissues of invertebrates and fish. Radioyttrium accumulates in the shell of fish eggs, in algae, crustaceans, in shells of mollusks, cerium-144 (144Ce) - in algae, sea anemones, in the body of mollusks. The radioactive isotope of iodine (131J) is in algae, etc. At the same time, if in fish the coefficient of accumulation of radionuclides is low, but for the yolks of waterfowl eggs it exceeds one million units. Strontium-90 is accumulated by rays, unicellular plankton, which concentrate it in spicules, some green algae, all types of brown algae, in shells of crustaceans and shells of mollusks. 

 

In force since 1991, the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program of the US Congress considers RHSs as a threat to spread radioactive materials to create "dirty bombs." The IAEA categorizes such elements as high risk, as a single strontium 90 RHS element can be dangerous for more than 1000 years. 

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Scientists of FEFU and FEB RAS under by the leadership of Evgeny Papynov (Institute of Chemistry, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), using the method of reactive spark plasma sintering (SPS) of mineralopod ceramic systems, we were able to obtain a stable ceramic matrix composition that reliably protects the core with strontium-90. The matrix is able to "keep" radiation even in the event of an accident and the RHS element gets into environmental objects, including fresh and sea water. 


Based on the IPS approach — consolidation of powder materials due to high-speed heating and compaction. The technique makes it possible to preserve the micrograin structure of the final material, its high hardness, strength, and low rate of radionuclide leaching in media with different acidity. The technological approach is being developed jointly by specialists from FEFU and the Institute of Chemistry, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 


According to the researchers, the resulting ceramic material can also be recommended as a source of ionizing radiation based on 90Sr for production at FSUE « Mayak software. 


The work is carried out within the framework of state assignments of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and scientific projects of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. 


New materials for different fields of application are one of the priorities of FEFU. Recently, university scientists > ceramic materials for high power LED systems.

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