UNIST RAdioactive NUclear Materials (URANUM) Laboratory

The URANUM is an experimental lab that will handle nuclear fuel materials, such as uranium and thorium metals, alloys, and compounds, by 2018, for the first time among all university laboratories in the Republic of Korea. Thermophysical and metallurgical investigation of nuclear fuel and cladding materials is the centerpiece of our research. Experimental simulation of radiation-matter interactions utilizing ion accelerators and research reactors is another unique feature of the URANUM to interrogate the performance and safety of nuclear fuel in core and any other materials used under radiation, for instance, reactor internals, cask for Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF), electronics equipped in disaster relief robots and so on. We also attempt to develop a novel innovative nuclear fuel performance code based on theoretical modeling of nuclear fuel behavior under extreme environment of reactor core, namely, 1) high temperature (up to 2000 °C), 2) excessive temperature gradient in non-metal fuels (~1000 °C/mm), 3) high pressure (70 ~ 150 MPa) in water reactors, 4) strong and complex radiation field, including fast neutrons (~2 MeV), gamma-rays, and tens-of-MeV-energetic fission fragments of various charge and mass. Both of these hands-on experience on nuclear fuel materials and affirmative theoretical understanding on irradiation effects in materials will promote the students and researchers in the URANUM lab to be world-class nuclear engineers and academics. Above all, we aim truly high to suggest and demonstrate state-of-the-art nuclear fuel concepts and designs to all humanity around the globe, as our contribution to the world energy crisis, global warming, and fine dust pollution.

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