A high-conductivity oxide fuel concept
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Initial development research at Purdue University evaluated silicon carbide (SiC) and BeO additives as part of a US Department of Energy Nuclear Energy Research Initiative. Lab-scale processing methods were established to create a novel UO2-BeO fuel microstructure with exceptional thermal behavior and a thermal model was created to predict the conductivity of this novel material. Neutronic pin cell simulations for a typical PWR were performed using the lattice physics code DRAGON. Beryllium oxide (BeO) is proposed as an engineered additive to enhance the thermal conductivity of UO2. It is also determined that the beginning-of-cycle reactivity may increase by approximately 2900 percent milliRho, resulting in an increase in cycle length of approximately 20 days with a potential increase in end-of-cycle burnup to approximately 4000 MWd/tHM.
author list (cited authors)
McDeavitt, S. M., Ragusa, J., Revankar, S. T., Solomon, A. A., & Malone, J.