JRC calls for fuel benchmarking

14 March 2007

The European Union (EU) Joint Research Centre (JRC) has called for common principles to be honed when assessing and predicting the performance of the various types of nuclear fuels.

In a report, titled modelling-of-nuclear-fuel-behaviour, author Paul Van Uffelen stressed the importance of such work: “To ensure the safe and economic operation of fuel rods, it is necessary to be able to predict their behaviour and lifetime.”

Van Uffelen stated: “It is important that all fuel performance codes will be further benchmarked with peer-reviewed experimental data, such as those proposed in the frame of international benchmarks organised by the OECD/NEA and the IAEA.”

His comments address the development of single models to simulate fuel rod behaviour under all circumstances rather than previous separate codes for normal operating conditions and mild transients, and for simulating accident behaviour.

Obviously, comprehensive predictions covering all fuel types and conditions would be helpful. However, Van Uffelen noted: “Despite promising results for the behaviour of fission products in UO2, and a better understanding of the basic phenomena, it is still too ambitious to conceive a fuel performance code based solely on fundamental computations.” This is because of varying demands within the various test techniques regarding temperature, space and timescale.

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