Nuclear fuel performance during normal operations and off-normal conditions is important to reactor safety and the efficiency of energy production from a reactor. Improvements in fuel performance and the introduction of new fuel systems is essential for advancing nuclear energy to meet the growing demands for a clean, safer, and economically viable energy source.
The fuel development and qualification group assesses and develops new fuel systems for different types of reactors including research reactors, light water reactors, and advanced reactor systems such as liquid-metal-cooled fast spectrum reactors. The group performs modeling and simulation, out of pile experiments, advanced materials characterization, and in-pile data interpretation and analysis to support fuel qualification. We seek to enhance the performance of fuel and cladding materials through applying advanced material synthesis techniques, and the manufacturing of conformal advanced ceramic composite coatings. High-energy heavy-ion irradiations of nuclear materials at the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS) facility are conducted to understand fuel and material performance during irradiation.