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A NEA review on innovative structural materials solutions, including advanced manufacturing processes for nuclear applications based on technology readiness assessment
Nuclear Materials and Energy  (IF2.32),  Pub Date : 2021-04-20, DOI: 10.1016/j.nme.2021.101006
F. Balbaud, C. Cabet, S. Cornet, Y. Dai, J. Gan, M. Hernández Mayoral, R. Hernández, A. Jianu, L. Malerba, S.A. Maloy, J. Marrow, S. Ohtsuka, N. Okubo, M.A. Pouchon, A. Puype, E. Stergar, M. Serrano, D. Terentyev, A. Weisenburger

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Expert Group on Innovative Structural Materials (EGISM) was established in 2008 under the guidance of the Nuclear Science Committee (NSC). Its objectives are to conduct joint and comparative studies to support the development, selection and characterisation of innovative structural materials that can be implemented in advanced nuclear fuel cycles, under long service lifetime and extreme conditions, such as high temperature, high dose/dose rate and corrosive chemical environments.

In this context of growing interest and initiatives, the EGISM initiated at the beginning of 2018 an activity among its members to:

Identify, in a non-exhaustive way, the currently existing programs on innovative materials and fabrication processes in NEA member countries and China;

Establish a first cartography of the activities that are underway on these topics and identify common subjects and thematic;

Propose a Technology Readiness Level scale to estimate the maturity of both innovative materials and fabrication processes;

Carry out a reflection on what the enablers are to quickly climb this TRL scale, as well as the obstacles, in order to identify solutions to overcome them.

This paper first gives definitions shared between the EGISM members on what are considered as advanced structural materials solutions. Next, some international initiatives for the accelerated development of high performance materials are presented both in non-nuclear and nuclear fields. Then, the methodology adopted for technology readiness assessment is explained. A non-exhaustive synthesis of the projects identified among the EGISM members on innovative structural materials and advanced manufacturing solutions such as additive manufacturing is presented. The TRL level of these projects is evaluated. A focus is also made on some of these projects to illustrate and explain the TRLs chosen as well as highlighting enablers or obstacles identified to climbing up the TRL scale.