Concrete with fillers can serve as a shield material against harmful radiation effects due to availability of
materials, low cost, high strength, and adaptability in various environments. An overview of the recent
developments in concrete as a gamma ray shielding material along with important aspects of aggregates
in various nuclear isotope applications in presented.
Due to the increase in nuclear technology sector, it is of prime importance to improve the
isolation of harmful effects of radiation on the environment and humans in gamma irradiation
facilities [1-4]. The applications of nuclear radiation are in nuclear power plants , cancer
therapy rooms , nuclear medicine, food preservations, agriculture, archaeology, insect
control, space exploration inspection and instrumentation [7-9]. However, its shielding is
evitable due to the accompanied harmful effects on the environment and the living things.
Gamma-ray shields can be made out of a variety of engineering materials. Lead, for
instance, is commonly used as a radiation shield because of its high density and high
atomic number . However, due to its high weight, expensive, and molding constraints,
its utilization as a construction material is limited . Interconnected graphite bricks are
widely used in UK gas-cooled nuclear reactors not only to counter radiation effects but also
thermal stresses due to high temperatures . Iron slag added to cement mortars improves
their ability to absorb gamma rays and significantly impacts shielding efficiency . PbO/
nano-clay composites are appropriate materials for shielding applications due to their ability
to attenuate low-energy gamma rays .
Concrete has received considerable attention as a gamma-ray shielding material in nuclear
facilities due to its low cost, high strength, adaptability, and ease of molding techniques [15-
17]. Concrete as shielding material has been utilized in nuclear facilities, casks, vaults, and as
storage for Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) where it is exposed to severe conditions such as cracks,
thermal loads, freeze & thaw, acids, radiation, and other environmental aspects [18-19].
Therefore, concrete has been a subject of interest since many decades to attenuate harmful
radiation along with structural integrity.
Several studies have been conducted to understand the
applications of concrete in nuclear power plants and installations
related to radioactive materials considering its structural and
protective properties [20-23]. Some of the heavyweight concrete
incorporating different fillers in various radiation applications are
given in the Table 1.
Table 1: Gamma ray shielding properties of different concreates
Concreates with different fillers like Grit iron scale HDC (with
Grit scale iron aggregates), Modified HWC (with dolomite, barite,
ilmenite, and celestite), HWUHPC (with Hematite powder), UHPC
(with Fiber reinforced), and HDC (with Magnetite, iron scale and
barite) etc. can be used for gamma-ray shielding, NPPPs containment,
spent fuel storage etc. in the field of nuclear engineering. The
advantages of using concrete as shielding material include low
cost, high strength, and adaptability in various environments which
makes it an important nuclear shielding material even at elevated
temperature and harsh radiation environment.
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Professor, Chief Doctor, Director of Department of Pediatric Surgery, Associate Director of Department of Surgery, Doctoral Supervisor Tongji hospital, Tongji medical college, Huazhong University of Science and Technology