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Low Enriched Uranium Fuels fOR REsEarch Reactors

Low Enriched Uranium Fuels fOR REsEarch Reactors

Objective

Securing the nuclear fuel supply for European research reactors is the overall objective of the LEU-FOREvER project. Our analysis points out two main risks of shortage: (i) the very challenging conversion of High Performance Research Reactors (HPRRs) from High to Low Enriched Uranium fuels (LEU), (ii) the ROSATOM monopoly to fuel medium power research reactors (MPRRs) with original Soviet design.
On HPRRs, a multi-disciplinary consortium composed of fuel/core designers, operators and fuel manufacturer has been built to tackle both issues. Five European organisations (AREVA NP, CEA, ILL, SCK•CEN, TUM), which compose the HERACLES group, have been strongly involved for almost 20 years now in the development of LEU fuels. To enter the qualification phase in 2021, HERACLES is pushing towards the completion of an understanding phase. The baseline lies on the development of UMo fuels and their variants. Within LEU-FOREvER, optimisation of both manufacturing process (up to the design of pilot equipment) and modelling of the in-pile behaviour of these fuels are proposed. As a result of an independent review undergone in 2015, an alternative to UMo fuels has to be considered: this will be high-loaded U3Si2. Within LEU-FOREvER, it will be optimised to prepare an ambitious in-pile test (“High PROSIT”).
For European MPRRs, the ultimate goal is to design a new core which could work with both the original ROSATOM and European elements that would be developed, licensed and qualified (“4EVERTEST”) within LEU-FOREvER. The Czech LVR-15 reactor (CV Rez) has been selected as a case study, and preliminary design by AREVA-TA is based on U3Si2/Al flat fuel plates. To improve economic competitiveness, AREVA NP will reinvestigate its manufacturing process and propose optimisations.
Strong synergies are expected between both activities.
The modernization of research reactors appears as a key element in the mitigation of the risks surrounding the supply of isotopes, as expressed in the NFRP-11 topic.

Coordinator

COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES

Address

Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15

France

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 857 375

Participants (9)

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AREVA NP SAS

France

EU Contribution

€ 4 042,50

Société Technique pour l'Energie Atomique

France

EU Contribution

€ 658 380

CENTRUM VYZKUMU REZ SRO

Czechia

EU Contribution

€ 749 916,25

INSTITUT MAX VON LAUE - PAUL LANGEVIN

France

EU Contribution

€ 128 725

NARODOWE CENTRUM BADAN JADROWYCH

Poland

EU Contribution

€ 194 365

STUDIECENTRUM VOOR KERNENERGIE / CENTRE D'ETUDE DE L'ENERGIE NUCLEAIRE

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 1 244 592

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 473 210

LGI CONSULTING

France

EU Contribution

€ 161 952,50

FRAMATOME

France

EU Contribution

€ 2 125 590

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 754378

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 October 2017

  • End date

    30 September 2021

Funded under:

H2020-Euratom-1.8.

  • Overall budget:

    € 6 923 147,50

  • EU contribution

    € 6 598 148,25

Coordinated by:

COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES

France