New In-pile Instrumentation to Support Fuel Cycle Research and Development
New and enhanced nuclear fuels are a key enabler for new and improved reactor technologies. For example, the goals of the next generation nuclear plant (NGNP) will not be met without irradiations successfully demonstrating the safety and reliability of new fuels. Likewise, fuel reliability has become paramount in ensuring the competitiveness of nuclear power plants. Recently, the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy (DOE-NE) launched a new direction in fuel research and
... search and development that emphasizes an approach relying on first principle models to develop optimized fuel designs that offer significant improvements over current fuels. To facilitate this approach, high fidelity, real-time, data are essential for characterizing the performance of new fuels during irradiation testing. A three-year strategic research program has been initiated for developing the required test vehicles with sensors of unprecedented accuracy and resolution for obtaining the data needed to characterize three-dimensional changes in fuel microstructure during irradiation testing. When implemented, this strategy will yield test capsule designs that are instrumented with new sensor technologies for irradiations at facilities primarily relied upon by the Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCR&D) program, the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Prior laboratory testing, and as needed, irradiation testing of sensors in these capsules will have been completed to give sufficient confidence that the irradiation tests will yield the required data.