Advanced nuclear materials

Prof. Marc Scibetta – Université de Liège
Prof. Eric van Walle – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Prof. Rik-Wouter Bosch – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


85,5 hours study time

26 contact hours theory

5 contact hours exercises/laboratory sessions/visits

0 hours additional personal work (reading etc.)

Learning Outcomes

To review the corrosion and embrittlement degradation mechanisms of materials in nuclear environments.


  • Part 1: Functional requirements of materials in a nuclear environment (M. Scibetta – 1 ECTS)
    • Nuclear materials: fuel, fuel cladding, moderator/reflector, coolant
    • Structural materials: reactor internals and vessel, piping, valves
  • Part 2: Corrosion and materials degradation problems in the nuclear industry (RW. Bosch – 1 ECTS)
    • Introduction stainless steels and its application in LWRs
    • Water chemistry of LWRs
    • Uniform corrosion issues (radioactive contamination of primary circuit, Flow Assisted Corrosion, CRUD/AOA, ..)
    • Environmentally Assisted Cracking ( (IASCC of baffle bolts, PWSCC of steam generator tubing and dissimilar metal welds, EAF of stainless steel components, ..)
    • Corrosion control and mitigation
    • Case histories
  • Part 3: Advanced treatment of irradiation effects in materials: radiation damage mechanisms at microscopic level (E. van Walle – 1 ECTS)
Some of these topics are further elaborated during seminars by SCK•CEN experts
  • Corrosion in nuclear systems - general overview (R-W. Bosch)
  • Fundamentals of radiation damage in steels: the nanoscale perspective (L. Malerba)
  • Materials issues of nuclear fuel (M. Verwerft)
  • Advanced experiments to characterize radiation damage in nuclear materials (M. Konstantinovic)

Course material and reference books

The PowerPoint presentations of the lectures are available on the BNEN website.

Other usefull references

  • Fontana, M.G., Corrosion Engineering, 3rd Ed., McGraw-Hill, 1986.
  • Bogaerts, W.F., Active Library on Corrosion (CD-ROM), 2nd Ed., Elsevier, 1998.
  • Benjamin, M., Nuclear Reactor Materials and Applications, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983.
  • Glasstone, S. & A. Sesonske, Nuclear Reactor Engineering, 4-th Ed, Vol 1, Chapman & Hall, New York, 1994  (Chapter 7: Reactor Materials, pp 406-462). 
  • Cahn, R.W., Haasen, P., Kramer, E.J., Materials Science and Technology, Volume 10 B, Volume editor Frost B.R.T. , Chapters 7-9

Pre-assumed knowledge or prerequisites

Courses in the following fields
  • Nuclear materials
Basic knowledge of materials science, chemistry and electrochemistry.

Grading and examination

  • Part 1 and part 2: Oral examination with written preparation, closed book in first and second session 
  • Part 3: Oral examination with written preparation, open book in first and second session
  • Attendance to the seminars is compulsory.
  • The grade will be determined by weighing the grades on the separate parts, in proportion to the number of ECTS per part. In case of a failure for one of the parts, the examination committee can decide to penalize by lowering the final grade.
  • The examination of the separate parts of this course can be scheduled on multiple days.