Early Career Seminar: Advanced Fuel Development for Research Reactors
Fuel development has been a cornerstone of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) Reactor Conversion program, previously known as the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactor (RERTR) program, since the RERTR inception in 1978. Low enriched uranium (LEU) fuels with higher uranium densities are needed to replace highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuels in the conversion of a research reactor. Several LEU fuels have been qualified since the start of the RERTR/GTRI program. Argonne was instrumental in the qualification of silicide fuel in1988, and more than 35 reactors have been converted from HEU to LEU by using silicide fuel. Silicide fuels have been fabricated and used with a uranium density up to 4.8 g/cc. However, in order to convert the remaining high-flux, high-performance research reactors, development of fuels with higher uranium density is required (~8 g/cm3 for dispersion, or ~15 g/ cm3 for monolithic foil fuels). Argonne leads the major effort focused on developing aluminum-based U-Mo dispersion fuel for the European High Flux Reactors (EUHFRs). Furthermore, Argonne contributes to the development of the monolithic U-Mo fuel for the conversion of US High Performance Research Reactors (USHPRRs). This talk will describe key issues encountered during U-Mo fuel development: the reaction of U-Mo alloy with aluminum and the irradiation behavior of the fuel alloy and reaction products. Details will be provided for the current activities to meet these challenges, which include fuel behavior modeling and ion irradiation experiments.
June 2, 2015 at 10:00 am
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