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!
A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects
19.02.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?
19.02.2020 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
19.02.2020 | Life Sciences
19.02.2020 | Information Technology
19.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering