PROPERTIES CONSIDERED WHEN SELECTING MATERIALS
Fabricability is a measure of the ease with which a material can be worked and made into
desirable shapes and forms. Many components of a nuclear reactor have very complicated
shapes and forms and require very close tolerances.
Therefore, fabricability is an
important consideration in the manufacturing of these components.
Good heat transfer properties are desirable from the fuel boundary to the coolant in order
that the heat produced will be efficiently transferred.
For a constant amount of heat transfer, a degraded heat transfer characteristic requires
higher fuel temperature, which is not desirable.
Therefore, desirable heat transfer
properties in the selection of reactor materials, especially those used as core cladding and
heat exchanger tubes, are a major consideration.
Capital costs for building a typical nuclear facility can be millions of dollars. A major
portion of the cost is for plant material; therefore, cost is an important factor in the
selection of plant materials.
Preventing release of radioactive fission products is a major concern in the design,
construction, and operation of a nuclear plant. Therefore, mechanical strength plays an
important role in selecting reactor materials. High mechanical strength is desirable because
of its possible degradation due to radiation damage and the need to contain the radioactive
liquids and fuel.