CORDIS - EU research results

Plastic ceramic films to improve safety of modern nuclear energy

Project description

Reinforcing the safety and improving the image of nuclear energy

Serious nuclear accidents, such as the one at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, have highlighted the need for safety improvements in modern nuclear reactors. A key mechanism involved in radioactive contamination during a light-water reactor (LWR) failure is damage to the fuel’s cladding – the protective layer standing between the fuel rods and the reactor coolant. To prevent similar accidents occurring in Europe, the EU-funded PLASTICERA project’s primary goal is to develop a new accident-tolerant fuel coating for use in modern LWRs. The project could significantly improve the safety of nuclear energy and enhance its image as a tool to fight climate change.


Aim of the project PLASTICERA is to prevent nuclear accidents similar to Fukushima Daiichi from happening in Europe. Primary objective of PLASTICERA is to develop a new accident tolerant fuel (ATF) concept for modern nuclear light water reactors (LWR). Today, nuclear energy is an essential environmental issue as it is one of the key scalable technologies to battle climate change. Promoting the use of nuclear energy is largely based on public opinion and therefore creating safer and more sustainable ways to produce nuclear energy is more important than ever. The concept of PLACTICERA relies on amorphous oxide thin films to protect the primary fuel cladding from catastrophic damage during nuclear accident conditions. The oxide thin film can provide unique combination of a strong oxygen diffusion barrier with the capability to accommodate the plastic strain originating from the fuel bar thermal expansion. This functional coating could significantly delay the onset of uncontrollable degradation of the primary fuel cladding, allowing timely emergency cooling, and preventing the release of radioactive substances. The primary objective will be achieved by training Dr. Erkka J. Frankberg (fellow) with new skills in disruptive material manufacturing technologies capable of producing ceramic materials, especially amorphous oxides, with prerequisites for low temperature plasticity. These materials will then be tested for mechanical and corrosion properties in relevant environment resembling LWR normal operating conditions and conditions occurring during “loss of cooling water” (LOCA) -type accident.


Net EU contribution
€ 91 736,64
16163 Genova

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Nord-Ovest Liguria Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 91 736,64