A fix for foulants

Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 15:30 in Physics & Chemistry

When clogs and corrosion threaten residential water and heating systems, homeowners can simply call a plumber to snake a drain or replace a pipe. Operators of nuclear power plants aren’t nearly so lucky. Metallic oxide particles, collectively known as CRUD in the nuclear energy world, build up directly on reactor fuel rods, impeding the plant’s ability to generate heat. These foulants cost the nuclear energy industry millions of dollars annually. This issue has vexed the nuclear energy industry since its start in the 1960s, and scientists have only found ways to mitigate, but not cure, CRUD buildup. But that may be about to change. “We believe we have cracked the problem of CRUD,” says Michael Short, Class of ’42 Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), and research lead. “Every test we’ve done so far has looked good.” In a recent paper published online by Langmuir, an American Chemical Society journal, Short and...

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