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ORNL, Delta M Receive DOE Grant to Develop Cables for Use In Fusion Reactors

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 17, 1995 — The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and DELTA M Corp. of Oak Ridge, Tenn., are jointly developing mineral-insulated cables for use in experimental fusion reactors, where the performance of normal diagnostic cables tends to deteriorate.

The one-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), valued at approximately $100,000, is the first Martin Marietta Energy Systems CRADA in which the industrial partner supplies all the funds. The CRADA is completely funded through a Small Business Technology Transfer grant awarded to DELTA M/ORNL by the Department of Energy.

DELTA M has the primary responsibility for fabricating the mineral insulated cable designs using various new material combinations. Conventional mineral-insulated cables are made of magnesium oxide powder. DELTA M will produce samples of the mineral-insulated cables using alumina, mullite and cordierite powders, for analysis at ORNL.

ORNL is responsible for providing DELTA M with the new material combinations, and for evaluating the performance of the cables. Performance tests will evaluate a range of variables, such as leakage current and linear behavior in an irradiation field.

"The goal is to decrease the radiation-induced electrical conductivity of the cables when used in magnetic diagnostics of fusion reactors," said Lance Snead, an ORNL researcher in the Metals and Ceramics Division.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the Department of Energy's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.

DELTA M Corp. is a leading producer and supplier of miniaturized thermal differential technology, providing a wide range of sensors and electronic instrumentation for applications in level, flow, heat flux, and leak test monitoring.