a1 MIT, Cambridge, MA; [email protected]
a2 Idaho National Laboratory; [email protected]
a3 Materials Science and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory; [email protected]
a4 MIT, Cambridge, MA; [email protected]
The field of nuclear materials encompasses numerous opportunities to address and ultimately solve longstanding industrial problems by improving the fundamental understanding of materials through the integration of experiments with multiscale modeling and high-performance simulation. A particularly noteworthy example is an ongoing study of axial power distortions in a nuclear reactor induced by corrosion deposits, known as CRUD (Chalk River unidentified deposits). We describe how progress is being made toward achieving scientific advances and technological solutions on two fronts. Specifically, the study of thermal conductivity of CRUD phases has augmented missing data as well as revealed new mechanisms. Additionally, the development of a multiscale simulation framework shows potential for the validation of a new capability to predict the power distribution of a reactor, in effect direct evidence of technological impact. The material- and system-level challenges identified in the study of CRUD are similar to other well-known vexing problems in nuclear materials, such as irradiation accelerated corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, and void swelling; they all involve connecting materials science fundamentals at the atomistic- and meso-scales to technology challenges at the macroscale.