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ROX-Fuel Fabrication


Development of Technology of ROX-Fuel Fabrication and Analysis of Characteristics of Nuclear Reactors Using ROX-Fuel

Tech Area / Field

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

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
FEI (IPPE), Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk


  • JAERI / Department of Nuclear Energy System, Japan, Tokai Mura

Project summary

The Project includes research activities along the four Investigation Lines:
Investigation Line A - Fabrication techniques development and investigation of ROX-fuel composition properties.
Investigation Line В - Calculation analysis of physical and thermal hydraulic characteristics of WWER reactor with ROX-fuel.
Investigation Line С - Conceptual studies of the use of ROX-fuel for fast sodium-cooled power reactors.
Investigation Line D - Doppler effect evaluation of 239Pu и 240Pu at BFS Facilities.

The Project includes development of production techniques and studies of ROX-fuel properties. In this regard, the principal objective of the Project resides in development of ROX-fuel composition feasible for plutonium burning in light water reactors. Initially the work is to be performed using UO2 as PuO2 substitute. Then the activities will be underway towards PuO2 based ROX-fuel with manufacturing a batch of the fuel reserved for tests in the AM research thermal reactor at the SRC - IPPE.

A constituent of the Project is the calculation analysis of the neutronic and thermal hydraulic characteristics of the Russian 600 - 650 MW light water cooled reactor with stone-like fuel composition with no 238U (ROX-fuel) in the core. It is assumed to prepare a design proposal of such reactor for extended burnup of plutonium and capable to meet the nuclear safety requirements. The reactor ensuring an effective utilization of the gained plutonium has to fulfil the needs of the nuclear power.

Alongside with WWER reactors, using BN-800 as an example, the conceptual research work on the use of ROX-fuel in fast sodium-cooled power reactors is in progress. Also studied is a reactor core with fast neutron spectrum in the central part, and thermal neutron spectrum in the core’s periphery.

In the course of analysis of the use of ROX-fuel in Russian reactors, radiation characteristics of the spent fuel will be studied and estimations will be made of probable amounts of radioactive products released into the environment from irradiated ROX-fuel assemblies upon their disposal.

When utilizing the ROX-fuel, an important safety characteristic is the Doppler effect magnitude of 240Pu. The Project envisages an experimental assessment of the magnitude on the BFS Facility at the SRC-IPPE. Separate zones simulating neutron spectra of WWER and BN reactor cores with ROX-fuel will be arranged at the Facility. The measurements will be carried out on heated specimens with different 240Pu contents in the central channel of the Facility by the oscillation method.

In this manner, the Project includes development of the ROX-fuel process techniques, and calculation and experimental studies of physics and safety of thermal and fast reactors with ROX-fuel.

Anticipated Results:

Realization of the project would enable to fabricate a new ROX-fuel composition prospective for burning plutonium in light-water reactors, and the consequent reliable disposal of irradiated fuel without its reprocessing. Possible variations of ROX-fuel composition suitable for plutonium utilization in fast reactors will also be examined.

In the course of Project development, the problems of technological parameters and ROX-fuel properties’ optimization will be solved and validated relying on the findings of an investigation of the interrelationship of powders properties and properties of compacted products. Fuel pellets will be fabricated following the developed technology for fuel elements to be tested in the AM reactor.

Within the limits of the project a conceptual design of a promising light-water reactor core of WWER type and medium power (600 – 650 MW) will be prepared in terms of detail design. The reactor core’s basic parameters will be thoroughly validated to meet the nuclear safety requirements for effective plutonium burning. The results of project implementation consist in

- validation of possible high burnup of the accumulated plutonium in a specialized light-water reactor with spent fuel disposal with no subsequent chemical reprocessing;
- validation of the possibility of providing a required degree of safety of a light-water reactor using fuel composition without 238U;
- accumulation of the experimental data and the necessary experience with preparation of cross sections and developing computer software for reactors of that type.

The project objectives are in line with the ISTC’s goals. The project will be carried out by IPPE’s scientists and engineers previously involved in weapons studies.