Ceramic Industry News

Ceradyne and Alcan to Provide Nuclear Waste Containment Systems (6/8/06)

Ceradyne, Inc. and Alcan Inc. have signed a multi-year agreement to fabricate and distribute a nuclear shielding boron carbide/aluminum metal matrix composite (MMC). Alcan's Dubuc Works and Ceradyne's recently formed subsidiary, Ceradyne Canada, will cooperate to produce state-of-the-art nuclear shielding structures, which will be formed into nuclear waste containment vessels. The incorporation of Alcan's aluminum metal with Ceradyne's boron carbide (B4C) powder results in a structural element (MMC) that can be formed into a system that effectively absorbs radioactive neutrons. Ceradyne will be responsible for the ultimate fabrication and distribution of these nuclear waste components.

Ceradyne plans to establish an 80,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, to process and extrude aluminum/boron carbide components using a state-of-the-art 2750-ton short stroke press.

This technology initially will be focused on the market for spent nuclear fuel rods generated by nuclear power plants. However, Ceradyne and Alcan also intend to develop other aluminum/ceramic MMCs for a range of new applications, including the company's military vehicle armor program.

"We are extremely excited about this Ceradyne/Alcan agreement," said Joel Moskowitz, Ceradyne's chief executive officer. "With Alcan's encouragement and cooperation, we intend to be a positive force in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. We expect to invest significant resources in plant and equipment. Our intention is to begin hiring people shortly and continue increasing our local staff over the next nine months. Our ultimate goal is a stable but growing workforce combined with the economic advantages of Quebec."

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