Forty years of hard labor in punishing conditions sounds like an interminable sentence. Imagine finding out near the end of that period that the sentence has been extended for another 20 years and maybe another 20 beyond that. That’s the plight of nuclear reactors. These giant metal contraptions were typically designed to generate electricity for about 40 years, day after day resisting damage from a corrosive, watery world of extreme temperatures, pressures, and ionizing radiation. Now many are being asked to soldier on for at least another 20 years. To extend reactors’ lifetimes, scientists and engineers are continually improving methods for monitoring and predicting the integrity and strength of these multibillion-dollar metal structures. And they are developing corrosion-resistant replacement materials to keep nuclear reactors operating safely and reliably for 60 years or longer.
Chemical & Engineering News 20th Sept 2020 read more »