Scientists will modernize technology of anti-radiation concrete shields

February 14, 2014, National Centre for Nuclear Research
Scientists will modernize technology of anti-radiation concrete shields
Hot chamber at the MARIA research reactor in Świerk. Credit: NCBJ

PAN Institute of Fundamental Technological Research , NCBJ, Institute of Ceramics & Building Materials, and the Hydrobudowa-1 company are commencing a 3.2 million PLN worth joint research project to modernize radiation concrete shields. The project is welcomed by all companies that are likely to participate in development of the first nuclear power plant in Poland.

Objective of the "Durability and effectiveness of shields against ionizing radiation in nuclear facilities" project is to develop a new technology of producing shielding concrete of improved functionality. The technology would allow to manufacture better concrete shields against ionizing radiation used in , radioactive waste repositories, nuclear chemistry labs, oncology hospitals, and practically in every room where a medical or industrial accelerator is operated. The project outcomes should include technical assessment criteria on basis of which new standards and regulations (reflecting current knowledge) might be elaborated.

Factors that must be taken into account by experts working on new technology of producing shielding concrete include selection of materials to be used to prepare fresh concrete, technology of mixing, of curing the mix, concrete tribological properties and microstructure, concrete shielding properties for various types of ionizing radiation. Research on impact of intense beams of gamma and neutron radiation on samples of the tested new concretes will be done at the MARIA research reactor operated in Świerk. Concrete used over 50 years ago to build another Świerk research reactor (EWA, now decommissioned after more than 30 years of operation) will be sampled and analysed as well to complement the picture. Concrete recipes most promising in view of the obtained results of lab tests and computer simulations will be selected for further industrial-scale tests. Next, the most successful recipes will be used to produce shielding concretes of which some massive blocks and test shields of a size comparable to size of real shields will be produced and verified. Final outcomes of all performed tests/analyses should allow to formulate technical guidelines and assessment criteria, on basis of which standards/regulations in force and manufacturing recipes might be updated.

For a long time concrete has been a key material used to construct shielding against penetrating . Recent renaissance of interest in impact of the radiation on long-term stability of concrete microstructure and tribological properties was stirred by some reports on unexpected damage of some concrete elements of the Seabrook (Canada) plant and concrete quality defects discovered at the Olkiluoto (Finland) nuclear power plant development site.

Explore further: Newly invented shielding for stopping neutrons cold

Related Stories

Newly invented shielding for stopping neutrons cold

December 9, 2013

When faced with the challenge of protecting sensitive scientific equipment and computers from radiation, engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility decided to take matters ...

Sugar cane waste use as component of hydraulic concrete

February 7, 2014

Hydraulic concrete is one of the most-used construction materials around the world. Portland cement is its principal component, but during its production a lot of energy is needed, and big volumes of greenhouse gases like ...

Concrete which can heal its own cracks

September 16, 2013

Cardiff University researcher Dr Diane Gardner has won the 'You Heard It Here First' event at the British Science Festival for her work on self-healing concrete. The award considers the UK's brightest early career researchers ...

What floats these boats? Concrete

June 24, 2013

Does concrete float? For the hundreds of civil engineering students at the annual National Concrete Canoe Competition, the answer is "yes."

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.