Koroush Shirvan isn’t a zoologist, but he’s well acquainted with moose, bison, cobras, and falcons, to name a few. Like anyone working in the world of advanced research on nuclear power, this assistant professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Nuclear Science & Engineering department deals daily in initialisms and acronyms, which for Shirvan include MOOSE, BISON, COBRA, FALCON, and dozens more.
Ask Dr. Tatiana Ivanova, a long-time nuclear engineer and head of the Nuclear Science division at Paris-based intergovernmental organization Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), why so much activity is ongoing to transform nuclear fuel — and her answer is simple: “It is the principal part of nuclear power plants.” Fuel design optimization is “a cornerstone for the industry to deploy new, modern fuel for light-water reactors [LWRs], advanced reactors, and small modular reactors,” she said.
Framatome is teaming with General Atomics to study the application of silicon carbide for boiling water reactor (BWR) nuclear fuel designs. Advanced nuclear fuel designs using silicon carbide in the fuel channel will enhance the safety and fuel performance of nuclear plant operations. Framatome is conducting this research as part of its PROtect enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) program.
It was about this time last year when I posted an article defining Framatome’s PROtect Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) program. Nearly a year later, thanks to our global team of experts and support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), we have reached several major milestones in our program and are forging ahead with research on additional solutions to improve the nuclear fuel industry.