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In-Pile Tests of Very High Burn-Up Fuel


In-Pile Tests of New Generation Fuels for VVERs of Different Purpose

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-FUE/Reactor Fuels and Fuel Engineering/Fission Reactors

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Non-Organic Materials named after A. Bochvar, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • NIIAR (Atomic Reactors), Russia, Ulianovsk reg., Dimitrovgrad


  • Lockheed Martin Corporation / Bechtel BWXT Idaho / Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, USA, ID, Idaho Falls\nNuclear Power Engineering Corporation, Japan, Tokyo\nFRAMATOME / Nuclear Fuel, France, Lyon

Project summary

This project is a logical continuation of the developments implemented under the contract between ISTC and SSC RF A.A.Bochvar ARSRIIM in the framework of Project № 173-95.

The implementation of the activities on Project № 173-95 resulted in the development of:

- methods of producing porous and pore-free dispersion cores with different types of high-density nuclear fuel;
- laboratory technology of manufacturing dummy fuels with the above cores;
- design documentation on dummy fuels to be research reactor tested.

It is assumed that under conditions characteristic of VVER the designed dispersion fuels will achieve the burn-up up to 150000 MW Чday/t without any shape or size changes that interfere with the normal operation.

The retention of the shape and sizes by the fuels subjected to extended burn-up is provided by a decrease in the core initial porosity with burn-up.

The worked-out technologies allow the use of different types of nuclear fuel and, hence, variations in the uranium contents of the core within wide ranges (up to 9 g/cm3), the use of variously shaped claddings manufactured from different materials. Therefore, using those technologies fuels may be manufactured that meet different requirements depending on the purpose.

The presently used standard VVER container-type fuel rods fueled with UCh pellets are designed for the burn-up up to 60000 MW Чday/t.

An extended lifetime of fuels will result in a significant effect due to saving materials and reduced reprocessing and disposal. It will also favorably affect the environmental conditions. The dispersion core fuel also has some more advantages: reliable operation under transient conditions, low centerline temperature of fuel, no gas induced swelling, high corrosion resistance.

The goal of the Project is in-pile tests of dummy dispersion fuels manufactured using different technologies. The tests are to be carried out in the MIR reactor water loop in two dismountable irradiation facilities BMT (block of small size fuels) placed at different heights of the reactor core. The design of the irradiation facility is to envisage its possible dismantling in a hot cell aimed at the intermediate inspection of the dummy fuel condition and replacement of the mock-ups by the new ones if destructive assays are to be conducted.

The work on the project is to provide an additional peaceful employment of 160 people (scientists, engineers and technicians) that were engaged in defense problems.

Anticipated Results

- Dummy fuels manufactured by several processes for BMT testing in the loop channel of the MIR reactor;
- General confirmation of the targeted characteristics of fuels (burn-up, diameter and length changes) by testing the mock-ups;
- Data on the influence of the fuel design and fabrication process upon its irradiation behavior (swelling, corrosion resistance of claddings), recommendation of how to refine the design model of fuel.

Cooperation with the following organizations is scheduled.

1. Framatome, M. Simon (France).

2. Nupec, Mr. T. Kurosu (Japan).

3. Belgonucleaire, Mr. Y. Vanderborck (Belgium).

4. IVO International Ltd, Mr. Terasvirta (Finland).


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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