A project launched by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) focusing on the steel used in new generation of pressurized water reactor nuclear islands, was approved on June 14.
The project is among the Ministry of Science and Technology's 2017 national key research and development projects.
CGN's state key laboratory for nuclear safety monitoring technology and equipment is the project application unit. It is the only national key laboratory in China’s nuclear industry.
China Nuclear Power Engineering Co Ltd, a subsidiary of CGN, will be the lead unit, and undertake the sub-project "SA508 Gr.4N steel service performance research". Its state key laboratory will cooperate with Tsinghua University and China Academy of Engineering Physics on the project.
SA508 Gr.4N steel is tough and can maintain high intensity compared to similar steels that are currently widely used in the reactor pressure vessel of a nuclear power plant. It will bring significant influence on the structural design and safety of pressure vessels in the new generation of nuclear power systems.
At present, countries including the United States, Japan, and South Korea have carried out detailed research on SA508 Gr.4N steel. Some research results have helped improve key nuclear manufacturing equipment.
However, China's research still focuses on the basic theory and manufacturing process of the material. But the study of its service performance, especially in the field of neutron irradiation performance, is yet to be completed, which restricts the application and promotion of this material.
The state key laboratory will focus on SA508 Gr.4N steel's service performance over the next four years, in order to pave the way for the industrialization of the material and lay the foundations for research and development, as well as the service performance evaluation of new nuclear materials.