Title: Feasibility of polyetherketone (PEK) composites: a solution for long-term nuclear waste storage

Authors: G. Ajeesh; Shantanu Bhowmik; Venugopal Sivakumar; Lalit Varshney; Virendra Kumar; Mathew Abraham

Addresses: Department of Aerospace Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore 641112, India ' Department of Aerospace Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore 641112, India ' Department of Aerospace Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore 641112, India ' Radiation Technology Development Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400085, India ' Radiation Technology Development Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400085, India ' Gharda Chemicals Limited, MIDC, Dombivili, Mumbai 421203, India

Abstract: This investigation highlights the effect of radiation, chemical and thermal environments on mechanical and thermal properties of polyetherketone (PEK) composites and its rationale for long-term nuclear waste storage. The tests are conducted on samples manufactured using PEK and PEK reinforced with modified carbon nano fibre (CNF). The specimens are subjected to gamma radiation doses of 5 MGy, which is equivalent to the cumulative dosage of radiation from spent nuclear fuel until the radioactivity neutralises completely. Studies under transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reveal that there is a uniform dispersion of modified CNF in PEK. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicate that there are no significant changes in thermal properties of PEK and PEK composite when exposed to aggressive environments. It is observed that tensile strength of polymeric samples remains unchanged when exposed to gamma radiation and thermo-chemical environment.

Keywords: gamma radiation; high-performance polymers; thermo-chemical exposure; nanocomposites; thermogravimetric analysis; nondestructive testing; NDT; radiation shielding; nanotechnology; polyetherketone; PEK composites; long-term storage; nuclear waste storage; carbon nanofibres; spent nuclear fuel; tensile strength.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNEST.2016.078961

International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology, 2016 Vol.10 No.3, pp.257 - 275

Available online: 04 Sep 2016 *

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