Project List

High Burn-up Irradiation Performance of Advanced Fuel Cladding Materials for Gen-IV Nuclear Reactors.

2016 ~ 2019, National Research Foundation of Korea, Myeongkyu Lee

Materials inside advanced nuclear reactors have to withstand extreme radiation damage at high temperature. Especially, the fuel cladding of Prototype Gen-IV Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (PGSFR) has to endure ~4 times higher radiation damage than that of conventional Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR), which is ~200 displacement per atom (dpa). Hence, a new cladding material for the PGSFR, named as FC-92, was recently developed by the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). The FC-92 is a 12Cr ferritic/martensitic (F/M) steel designed in particular order to provide superior mechanical performance at high operating temperature of the PGSFR (~550 °C), however its radiation performance has to be thoroughly investigated and demonstrated to license the reactor. In that spirit, the ‘URANUM’ laboratory will conduct numerous number of irradiation experiments on various F/M steels and pure iron specimens utilizing ion-beam accelerators and parallel the results with the in-core test result obtained from a fast-neutron spectrum reactor in Russia (BOR-60).

High Thermal Conductivity Nuclear Fuel Development for an advanced SMR, named ATOM.

2016 ~ 2023, National Research Foundation of Korea, Jungsu Ahn

The ‘ATOM’ is an innovative concept of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that enables automatic load-following operation without boron chemical shim in water coolant, which, in exchange, mandates lower fuel temperature. Hence, the invention of a high thermal conductivity ceramic nuclear fuel has to precede the development of the ATOM. To address this issue, conventional UO2–based hybrid ceramic fuel options will be explored during the first phase of this project. Other ceramic fuel, such as U3Si2 or UN, variants would be the subject for the second phase (2019-2023). Through this project, the URANUM will be the first Korean university laboratory that can handle nuclear fuel materials, i.e., uranium and thorium metals, alloys, and ceramics, for metallurgical and thermophysical investigations. The procedure for heavy ion irradiation on fuel materials will also be established as soon as the approval from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) is arrived.

Conceptual Design of Optimized Fuel for Liquid metal-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR)

2017 ~ 2022, National Research Foundation of Korea, Yunsong Jung & Jungsu Ahn

There are few viable options for the LFR fuel, perhaps, MOX and UN are the only two. We are going to compare these options to suggest an optimized fuel design for Korean version of LFR. Experimental focus will be on interactions between candidate fuels and advanced cladding materials to deliver the better accident-tolerance. In the same spirit, fuel-coolant interaction experiments are also planned.

Physics-based 3D-FEM fuel performance code

2017 ~ 2019, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd., Geon Kim & Changhyeon Nam

Numerical simulations of nuclear fuel are hardly ever believed, especially by skeptical experimentalists, mainly due the fact that many interplay between a bunch of phenomena strongly coupled to each other have been separately modeled with too much simplification. This situation has to be put to a change. As a start, a fuel performance code that can simulate entire geometry of a fuel pin without any axisymmetric overlooking is now under development phase in the URANUM laboratory. This project will be a meaningful first step for the development of a multi-physics fuel performance code for the Republic of Korea.

High precision method for on-site measurement of UO2 stoichiometry for Korean SSAC and IAEA inspection

2017 ~ 2025, Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC), Gyunghoon Kim

For the measurement of UO2 stoichiometry, the IAEA has been leaning on Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), which is not applicable for on-site inspection. In the spirit of making global effort to address this issue and to strengthen the State System of Accounting for and Control of nuclear material (SSAC) in the Republic of Korea, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC) recently launched this project in cooperation with the URANUM laboratory to develop a better methodology that has a potential to provide on-site inspection capability and also higher precision than the TGA method. Since the thermal conductivity is one of the most sensitive material properties to the stoichiometry of UO2, on-going investigation is focused on the utilization of Laser Flash Analysis (LFA), but it is certainly not limited to it. The ultimate goal of this project is to deliver a neat conceptual design for a portable, preferably hand-carry, high precision device that can measure UO2 stoichiometry of any samples collected from the IAEA and KINAC inspections for nuclear non-proliferation.