Nuclear Reactors: Physics and Materials


  • George Yadigaroglu



Light water, Reactor physics, Reactor technology, Thermal limits, Tutorial


In the form of a tutorial addressed to non-specialists, the article provides an introduction to nuclear reactor technology and more specifically to Light Water Reactors (LWR); it also shows where materials and chemistry problems are encountered in reactor technology. The basics of reactor physics are reviewed, as well as the various strategies in reactor design and the corresponding choices of materials (fuel, coolant, structural materials, etc.). A brief description of the various types of commercial power reactors follows. The design of LWRs is discussed in greater detail; the properties of light water as coolant and moderator are put in perspective. The physicochemical and metallurgical properties of the materials impose thermal limits that determine the performance and the maximum power a reactor can deliver.




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