Liviu POPA-SIMIL Materials aided thinking outside the box in nuclear power; Advanced NanoMaterials and Technologies for Energy Sector; 2023; 7(2): 319-389

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Liviu POPA-SIMIL Materials aided thinking outside the box in nuclear power; Advanced NanoMaterials and Technologies for Energy Sector; 2023; 7(2): 319-389

Nuclear power is in decline, even in the novel conditions of planetary turmoil due to global warming and sanctions against Russia, while nuclear guild is talking about “Nuclear renaissance”, bluntly omitting the causes of nuclear power decay. Nuclear people are the most conservatives and they drastically oppose to any revolutionary change in nuclear power, because of reasonable safety issues and because they have difficulties accepting any novel idea that is outside the initial boundaries of their knowledge, and learning and adaptation is painful even for them. To correct the actual nuclear power problems, micro- nano hetero-structures were involved in several innovative concepts aimed to bring in harmony the nuclear reaction with the structure that hosts it. Main actors were identified and nano-materials were engineered in order to create functional structures where heterogeneity by design appeared in consequence. Using an appropriately dimensioned micro-hetero structure, the fission products self-separate, eliminating almost all the solid fuels drawbacks. In a nano-hetero structure, that forms a metamaterial that resembles a supercapacitor that charges by moving particles energy and discharged directly in customized electricity, is the basic structure for fission and transmutation battery. This structure may be built as a “hyperbolic meta-material” that generate tuned photonic fluxes to remove the energy obtained from stopping nuclear particles, or electricity applied on it. Nano-clusters exotic properties might be used to enhance separation in isotope production materials. Other nano-structures may be engineered in order to guide the neutrons, charged particles and photons, in desired directions using NEMS like systems to control their trajectory. Creating fractal materials from immiscible fractions it seems possible to make radiation-damage robust alloys to be used for structural elements inside reactor. Many applications may be developed, inclusive novel generations of advanced nuclear reactors and detector systems.