Sensitivity study for accident tolerant fuels: Property comparisons and behavior simulations in a simplified PWR to enable ATF development and design Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 Elsevier B.V. Since the events at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, there has been increased interest in developing fuels to better withstand accidents for current light water reactors. Four accident tolerant fuel candidates are uranium oxide with beryllium oxide additives, uranium oxide with silicon carbide matrix additives, uranium nitride, and uranium nitride with uranium silicide composite. The first two candidates represent near-term high performance uranium oxide with high thermal conductivity and neutron transparency, and the second two represent mid-term high-density fuels with highly beneficial thermal properties. This study seeks to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option in place of uranium dioxide. To assess the material properties for each of the fuel types, an extensive literature review was performed for material property data. Correlations were then made to evaluate the properties during reactor operation. Neutronics and thermal hydraulics studies were also completed to determine the impact of the use of each candidate in an AP1000 reactor. In most cases, the candidate fuels performed more desirably than uranium dioxide, but no fuel type performed better in all aspects. Much more research needs to be performed to build a complete model of the fuel performances, primarily experimental data for uranium silicide. Each of the fuels studied has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the comparisons discussed in this report can be used to aid in determining the most appropriate fuel depending on the desired specifications.

published proceedings

  • Nuclear Engineering and Design

altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Spencer, K. Y., Sudderth, L., Brito, R. A., Evans, J. A., Hart, C. S., Hu, A., ... McDeavitt, S. M.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Spencer, Kristina Yancey||Sudderth, Laura||Brito, Ryan A||Evans, Jordan A||Hart, Clifford S||Hu, Anbang||Jati, Andi||Stern, Karyn||McDeavitt, Sean M

publication date

  • December 2016