In the aftermath of the 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear industry undertook a worldwide research and development effort to further increase fuel margins in the case of a severe accident, leading to the development of different enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) programs.

These fuel designs must provide reactor operators with additional time to cope with accident scenarios in light water reactor cores, such as loss of active cooling or beyond-design-basis events. At the same time they must offer improved fuel performance during normal operation.

Three programs support and advance Areva NP’s work on EATF:

  • The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) EATF program, currently in Phase 2.
  • France’s Joint Research program agreement with the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and EDF.
  • A first-of-a-kind irradiation program of EATF concepts in the pressurised water reactor (PWR) at Gösgen in Switzerland; part of a long-term research and development partnership.

The Areva NP team is developing and testing two EATF concepts: a near-term solution that involves chromia-enhanced fuel pellets and fuel rods with a high-quality chromium coating; and a solution to be used at a later date with a silicon carbide-based cladding.

View the full story at Nuclear Engineering International.