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Fuel Development & Qualification

New nuclear fuels and materials are foundational components of next-generation advanced nuclear reactors. These advanced nuclear reactors can help the U.S. mitigate climate change and remove carbon from the economy.

Why develop nuclear fuels and materials?

New fuels and materials are leading drivers of the development of advanced nuclear reactors, which will be more secure, less susceptible to proliferation risk, more efficient and more cost effective than current nuclear reactors.

Who we are

Our team of scientists and engineers specialize in nuclear fuel modeling and simulation, assessment, and characterization, accelerated fuels and materials testing, and advanced materials synthesis.   We develop new nuclear fuels and materials that will handle the extreme environments inside advanced and research reactors.

What we do

We assess and develop new fuel and material systems for different types of reactors including research reactors, light water reactors, and advanced reactor systems such as liquid-metal-cooled fast spectrum reactors. To help qualify fuel, we model and simulate the behavior of materials and fuel systems at different scales, conduct experiments outside of the nuclear environment, characterize advanced materials and analyze data for fuels and materials that come from inside reactors. We also synthesize advanced materials using thin film deposition methods such as atomic layer deposition and physical vapor deposition to protect against corrosion and radiation effects under extreme operating conditions and create advanced ceramic composites for different applications.

We also develop an understanding of how fuels and materials perform during irradiation and support accelerated development and qualification of those materials by examining them under high-energy heavy-ion beams at the dedicated materials irradiation station (AMIS) at Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS) facility.

Our team delivers innovations in nuclear fuels and materials through research and development activities supported by different programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Our team collaborates with industry partners to solve key problems relevant to performance in reactors and essential to qualification and licensing of those materials. The team uses state-of-the-art tools in modeling and simulation, and advanced in-house microscopy and other characterization techniques that handle radioactive materials, as well as different advanced characterization capabilities at user facilities such as Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source.