Talon receives patent on neutron absorbing material

Published 21 March 2007

High fuel costs and environmental concerns have engendered new interest in nuclear power, which makes the need to find a safe way to transoport and stroe such materials even more urgent

The other week resdients of Oneida, New York, were reminded of the danger attending the shipping of hazardous chemicals when a rail car carrying such chemicals exploded, emitting a toxic cloud over the area. Now, imagine how dangerous the shipping of nuclear materials and waste on rails can be. Such imaginning is not a mere intellectual excercise: With the price of oil remaining high, and with growing concerns about climate changes, more and more countries are, again, looking favorably at nuclear power generation as a way out of the high oil prices/global warming conundrum.

It is in this context that we note that Talon Composites, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hanford, California-based Thresher industries (PINKSHEETS: THRI) and a manufacturer of proprietary metal matrix composites, has just received another U.S. patent for the fabrication of their metal matrix material called Talbor. This proprietary material and technology are used to make shielding plates. The important thing is that these plates achieve high neutron absorption by using a very fine-grain structure and greater homogeneous disbursement of Boron. The use of such absorbing plates would allow nuclear fuel companies to transport nuclear fueld more safely. Note that this is the second patent to be granted in the last four months.

The Talon Composites group at Thresher produces a range of metal matrix material (MMC) using Talon’s own proprietary technology under the name of Talbor, as well as Boralyn, a neutron-absorbing material that contains Cogema Logistics technology. The MMCs consist of aluminum and boron carbide and are supplied primarily to the nuclear waste and nuclear transportation industries for neutron absorption applications. The company says that the materials are stiffer than titanium, lighter than aluminum, and wear like steel. Talon’s process results in the boron carbide being dispersed evenly throughout the composite, making it particularly suitable to the nuclear industry, as the fine-grain structure of Talbor boosts performance in wet and dry nuclear storage and transportation. Note also that Talon composites materials may be used in a variety of homeland security and automotive applications.

-read more about Tony Blair’s change of heart about nuclear power generation in Jonathan Leake’s, “Britain Warms to Nuclear Power,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March-April 2007): 24-29 (sub. req.)