Currently, two composites types are being developed for incore application: carbon fiber carbon composite (CFC), and silicon carbide fiber composite (SiC/SiC.) Irradiation effects studies have been carried out over the past few decades yielding radiation-tolerant CFC’s and a composite of SiC/SiC with no apparent degradation in mechanical properties to very high neutron exposure. While CFC’s can be engineered with significantly higher thermal conductivity, and a slight advantage in manufacturability than SiC/SiC, they do have a neutron irradiation-limited lifetime. The SiC composite, while possessing lower thermal conductivity (especially following irradiation), appears to have mechanical properties insensitive to irradiation. Both materials are currently being produced to sizes much larger than that considered for nuclear application. In addition to materials aspects, results of programs focusing on practical aspects of deploying composites for near-term reactors will be discussed. In particular, significant progress has been made in the fabrication, testing, and qualification of composite gas-cooled reactor control rod sheaths and the ASTM standardization required for eventual qualification.

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