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Advanced structural materials for nuclear applications


This action[[Funded from fission (75%) and fusion (25%) Euratom budget lines]] will contribute to the development and qualification of advanced nuclear structural materials, such as austenitic, ferritic and martensitic steels, nickel based alloys, SiCf/SiC composites and other ceramic materials, refractory alloys and other prospective materials e.g. high-entropy alloys (HEA). The research should also address complex material science approaches (e.g. surface treatment methods).

The proposal should cover aspects of qualification methodology under extreme conditions and test standardisation towards elaboration of relevant codes and design rules. Advanced modelling of properties, microstructure and behaviour of structural materials, especially in view of their optimisation and characterisation of the respective phenomena (e.g. microstructural or microchemical evolution, coolant compatibility models, etc.), including non-destructive material examination for health monitoring purposes, have to be an integral part of the proposal.

Research work should also move beyond state-of-the-art understanding of the ageing processes of materials in nuclear installations e.g. concerning creep, fatigue and thermal ageing or environmental compatibility between coolant (water, gas, heavy liquid metals (HLM) and molten salts) and structural materials, the effect of irradiation on the structural materials, including fuel cladding should be considered. Experimental activities could benefit from the implementation of the ‘European Facility in Nuclear Research’ (topic HORIZON-EURATOM-2021-NRT-01-12).

It is expected that crosscutting material issues relevant to both fission and fusion technologies[[Issues specific only for fusion materials will be addressed by the European Partnership in fusion research.]] will be addressed in the proposal. Proposals should clearly describe the cross-cutting scope and resources to be allocated.

Research on advanced nuclear materials pertinent to other energy technologies, such as those involving exposure to high temperatures and corrosive fluids, could be addressed in the proposal as well.

The Commission also invites consortia to propose innovative solutions and research approaches other than those listed above in order to deliver the expected outcomes.

Due to the scope of this topic, international cooperation is encouraged.

Where appropriate, the Commission recommends that consortia make use of the services of the JRC. The JRC may participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. The JRC would bear the operational costs for its own staff and research infrastructure operational costs. The JRC facilities and expertise are listed in General Annex H of this Work Programme.