Cermet nuclear fuels have significant potential to enhance fuel performance because of low internal fuel temperatures and low stored energy. The combination of these benefits with the inherent proliferation resistance, high burnup capability, and favorable neutronic properties of the thorium fuel cycle provide intriguing options for using thoria based cermet nuclear fuel in advanced nuclear fuel cycles. This paper describes aspects of a Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) project with two primary goals: (1) Evaluate the feasibility of implementing the thorium fuel cycle in existing or advanced reactors using a zirconium-matrix cermet fuel, and (2) Develop enabling technologies required for the economic application of this new fuel form. The following paper will first describe the fuel thermal performance model developed for the analysis of dispersion metal matrix fuels. The model will then be applied to the design and analysis of thorium/uranium/zirconium metal matrix fuel pins for light water reactors using neutronic simulation methods.