David Petti, Sc.D., and technical director for the INL research, says the team used reverse engineering methods to help turn the fuel test failures from the early 1990s into successes in 2008. “We wanted to close this loop for the high-temperature gas reactor fuels community,” he said. “We wanted to put more science into the tests and take the process and demonstrate its success.”
This work is important in Idaho because the Idaho National Laboratory is the U.S. Department of Energy’s lead nuclear research and development laboratory.
The research is also key in supporting reactor licensing and operation for high-temperature reactors such as the Next Generation Nuclear Plant and similar reactors envisioned for subsequent commercial energy production.
“Hats off to the R&D fuels team on this major milestone,” said Greg Gibbs, Next Generation Nuclear Plant Project director. “This is a major accomplishment in demonstrating TRISO fuel safety. This brings us one step closer to licensing a commercially-capable, high-temperature gas reactor that will be essentially emission free, help curb the rising cost of energy and help to achieve energy security for our country.”
The work is a team effort of more than 40 people from INL, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, General Atomics and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“I salute the team effort that made the research the success it is today,” said David Hill, INL deputy laboratory director for Science and Technology. “I saw the research start while I was part of the ORNL team, and to see it succeed today is hugely satisfying and a tribute to everyone involved.”
The team has now set its sights on reaching its next major milestone – achievement of a 12-14 percent burnup expected later this calendar year.
The research to improve the performance of coated-particle nuclear fuel met an important milestone by reaching a burnup of 9 percent without any fuel failure. Raising the burnup level of fuel in a nuclear reactor reduces the amount of fuel required to produce a given amount of energy while reducing the volume of the used fuel generated, and improves the overall economics of the reactor system.
After U.S. coated-particle fuel performance difficulties in the 1990s and a shift in national priorities, research on this type of fuel was curtailed for a time. Funding for the research resumed in 2003 as part of the DOE Advanced Gas Reactor fuel development and qualification program.
The team studied the very successful technology developed by the Germans for this fuel in the 1980s and decided to make the carbon and silicon carbide layers of the U.S. particle coatings more closely resemble the German model. The changes resulted in success that has matched the historical German level.
INL’s Advanced Test Reactor was a key enabler of the successful research. The ATR was used to provide the heating of the fuel to watch the fuel’s response. The fuel kernel is coated with layers of carbon and silicon compounds. These microspheres are then placed in compacts one-half-inch wide by two inches long and then placed in graphite inside the reactor for testing. The fuel element is closely monitored while inside the test reactor to track its behavior.
Teri Ehresman | EurekAlert!
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
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New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development
13.03.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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