Nanotech Innovation in Nuclear Technologies

S. Anderson
Lockheed Martin, US

Keywords: nanocnuclear, nuclear, materials, innovation

Summary:

Few technologies offer more diverse promise or more ominous consequences than nuclear. As significant as the gains might be from embracing each new technological advance as it emerges, the magnitude of the attendant hazards have to be carefully weighed before plunging ahead. Thus, while nanotechnology has already been widely adopted in many other industries, this judicious caution has been a factor in the deliberate pace with which its consideration in all nuclear research has been tempered. The post-Fukushima pause in the nuclear renaissance has given additional impetus to moving expeditiously toward resolving longstanding challenges in nuclear power. And with that, the pace in exploring alternatives, including those in the nanotechnology tool box, has picked up. Elements of work in progress to incorporate nano scale materials and methods for addressing the radioactively contaminated water and the potential for preventing the zirconium-water reaction that caused the accident are reviewed. This is accompanied by an update on initiatives and possibilities in nanonuclear medicine and by an examination of potential for remediation of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) legacies from mining, milling, hydrofracturing, and petroleum production.