A new class of material will be synthesized and tested at the coupon level, as a potential integral neutron and gamma shield for the Kilopower Project and other small fission reactor technologies under development. The new material will have a competitive mass and volume -to- shielding effectiveness and offer a superior stable form as compared to the currently best available technology combination - Lithium Hydride and Tungsten. In the Phase I effort, integral shielding samples will be fabricated, and microstructural and thermal property characterizations will be completed. Neutron and gamma exposure testing will be completed and an estimate of feasibility will be determined for this new integral shield material.
The new material being developed will be immediately applicable to the Kilopower Project, as well as other future fission power generation programs under development, such as Nuclear Thermal Propulsion. The ability to have an integrally combined neutron and gamma shield will enable NASA shielding component designers to realize freedom of design not possible with the best available technology in LiH/W.
The new shield material being developed has significant potential beyond spaceflight applications, including terrestrial fission reactor shielding, spent fuel casket shielding, medical and industrial radiation shielding. The non-nuclear application opportunities for this new class of material include high volume industrial wear and cutting parts.