IL TROVATORE - Innovative cladding materials for advanced accident-tolerant energy systems
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The Fukushima Daiichi event has demonstrated the need for improved nuclear energy safety, which can be ensured by the development of accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs). ATFs are expected to overcome the inherent technical shortcomings of the standard zircaloy/UO2 fuels, thus relieving the industry from the huge financial penalty associated with beyond-design-basis accidents leading to fuel cladding material failure and release of radioactive fission products to the power plant containment and the environment. The main objective of IL TROVATORE is to identify the best candidate ATF cladding materials for use in Gen-II and Gen-III/III\ LWRs and to validate them in an industrially-relevant environment, i.e., under neutron irradiation in PWR-like water. Ideally, fuel cladding materials must demonstrate leak tightness and containment of fuel pellets and fission products during the fuel residence in the reactor, even under transient/accidental operation conditions. The innovative ATF cladding material concepts proposed in IL TROVATORE are expected to demonstrate significant improvement in performance when compared to the current fuel cladding materials, thus helping to take a critical step towards an improved energy safety worldwide, in response to the requirements of the amended Nuclear Safety Directive. The development of ATF clads will eliminate redundant safety systems, improving the market profile of current reactor designs, and the overall envisaged innovation will strengthen the competitiveness of European industries in both nuclear and non-nuclear sectors. To achieve its ambitious objectives, IL TROVATORE relies on academic excellence and industrial support, while also involving standardization bodies and nuclear safety regulatory authorities to accelerate the transfer of key innovation to market. Since IL TROVATORE is put forth to address a pressing global challenge, it is presented as an international collaboration between Europe, the USA and Japan.
- Monica Ferraris. (Responsabile Scientifico)
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