Fuel Fabrication Capability Research and Development Plan [report]

David J. Senor, Douglas Burkes
2013 unpublished
The purpose of this document is to provide a comprehensive review of the mission of the Fuel Fabrication Capability (FFC) within the Global Threat Reduction Initiative Convert Program, along with research and development (R&D) needs that have been identified as necessary to ensuring mission success. The design and fabrication of successful nuclear fuels must be closely linked endeavors. Therefore, the overriding motivation behind the FFC R&D program described in this plan is to foster closer
more » ... to foster closer integration between fuel design and fabrication to reduce programmatic risk by ensuring the following: • The manufacturing process consistently produces fuel with acceptable quality (i.e., meets or exceeds design requirements) • The sensitivity of material properties and characteristics to manufacturing process parameters is clearly understood so adequate process specifications can be defined • Fuel product specifications are realistic and achievable using the selected manufacturing methods • A better linkage between the effect of process parameters on fuel performance, to ensure that changes or variability in manufacturing does not have an adverse effect on irradiation behavior. These motivating factors are all interrelated, and progress addressing one will aid understanding of the others. The FFC R&D needs fall into two principal categories, 1) baseline process optimization, to refine the existing fabrication technologies, and 2) manufacturing process alternatives, to evaluate new fabrication technologies that could provide improvements in quality, repeatability, material utilization, or cost. The FFC R&D Plan examines efforts currently under way in regard to coupon, foil, plate, and fuel element manufacturing, and provides recommendations for a number of R&D topics that are of high priority but not currently funded (i.e., knowledge gaps). The plan ties all FFC R&D efforts into a unified vision that supports the overall Convert Program schedule in general, and the fabrication schedule leading up to the MP-1 and FSP-1 irradiation experiments specifically. The FFC R&D Plan describes qualitative considerations to guide development of optimized or alternative manufacturing processes: • Technical Merit -Does the process produce parts that meet product specification requirements? • Reproducibility -Does the process consistently produce high-quality parts? • Scaling -Does the process scale to full prototypic part dimensions? • Throughput -Does the process lend itself to high-volume throughput without sacrificing its advantages? • Environment, Safety, and Health -Can the process be implemented effectively in a uranium production facility regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy and/or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? • Quality Assurance -Does the process lend itself to implementation in an NQA-1 manufacturing environment? iii • Economics -Does the process offer lifecycle (not just capital) cost savings over the baseline process, including considerations of efficient use of uranium feedstock and scrap recycle? • Schedule -Can the process be developed and implemented in time to meet the Convert Program schedule for fuel down-selection? • Risk -Does the process mitigate existing risks or introduce new risks? These qualitative criteria are grouped in the following fashion to produce a quantitative estimate of process maturity using established methodologies to support fabrication technology down-selection in advance of the MP-1 manufacturing campaign: • Technical Maturity (Technical Merit, Reproducibility) -Defined by Technology Readiness Level derived from "U.S. Department of Energy Technology Readiness Assessment Guide," and "U.S. High Performance Research Reactor Project Technology Readiness Assessment Plan" • Suitability for Implementation (Scaling, Throughput, QA, ES&H) -Defined by Manufacturing Readiness Level derived from "DoD Manufacturing Readiness Level Deskbook" • Economics -Scoring based on estimated ratio of lifecycle cost impact to R&D plus capital cost investment • Deployment Lead Time (Schedule, Risk) -Scoring based on the complexity of introducing the technology into existing production facilities including footprint, infrastructure, other customer needs, and manufacturing culture. The fabrication technology decision gates and down-selection logic and schedules are tied to the schedule for fabricating the MP-1 fuel plates, which will provide the necessary data to make a final fuel fabrication process down-selection. Because of the short turnaround between MP-1 and the follow-on FSP-1 and MP-2 experiments, the suite of specimen types that will be available for MP-1 will be the same as those available for FSP-1 and MP-2. Therefore, the only opportunity to explore parameter space and alternative processing is between now and 2016 when the candidate processes are down-selected in preparation for the MP-1, FSP-1, and MP-2 plate manufacturing campaigns. A number of key risks identified by the FFC are discussed in this plan, with recommended mitigating actions for those activities within FFC, and identification of risks that are impacted by activities in other areas of the Convert Program. The R&D Plan does not include discussion of FFC initiatives related to production-scale manufacturing of fuel (e.g., establishment of the Pilot Line Production Facility), rather, the goal of this plan is to document the R&D activities needed ultimately to enable high-quality and cost-effective production of the fuel by the commercial fuel fabricator. The intent is for this R&D Plan to be a living document that will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis (e.g., annually) to ensure that FFC R&D activities remain properly aligned to the needs of the Convert Program. This version of the R&D Plan represents the first annual review and revision. iv
doi:10.2172/1097339 fatcat:gs5wrgn6rzbm7auoa7ygjdzvma