Nuclear Fuel Research and Development Activities at Argonne
Abstract: Argonne has been associated with the development of different types of nuclear fuels over the past decades, in particular metallic alloys based fuel for both advanced and research reactors. Currently, development and qualification of U-Mo fuel for use in high-power research reactors are the focus of research reactor-related activities where both dispersion and monolithic type fuels are considered Those activities included fuel fabrication for experiment at the Advanced Test Reactor, interpretation of irradiation data, and multiscale modeling and simulation of U-Mo fuel. U-Zr based metallic fuel is the candidate fuel for use in advanced fast reactor systems in the United States. Activities at Argonne are related to fuel performance evaluation, and irradiation data qualification to support industry efforts to license different metallic fuel-based fast reactor systems
Another area of activities is light water reactor (LWR) accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) related research, which include coating of zirconium-based and SiC-based cladding material to improve high-temperature water and steam corrosion characteristics and modeling and simulation of U3Si2 fuel. Modeling and simulation of U3Si2 (silicide fuel) is a part of an ongoing effort to evaluate and qualify U3Si2 for use in LWR as a fuel with enhanced ATF characteristics. This effort also includes high-energy heavy-ion irradiation experiments at Argonne's ATLAS and IVEM facilities to simulate radiation effects at LWR operating temperatures. Post ion irradiation examinations and characterizations are performed at different facilities, including the Advanced Photon Source. The ion irradiation experiments provide valuable data for U3Si2 modeling and simulation, especially with the lack of in-pile irradiation data at LWR operating temperatures.
Presented here is an overview of those fuels related activities as well as other relevant activities, including advanced materials synthesis and recent efforts in additive manufacturing of nuclear fuel materials.