KAERI verifies low enriched uranium fuel at Belgian high-performance nuke reactor

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : June 1, 2021, 15:31 | Updated : June 1, 2021, 15:31

[Courtesy of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute]

SEOUL -- South Korean and Belgian nuclear research bodies will conduct joint research to verify the performance of high-density low enriched uranium nuclear fuels at a high-performance research reactor. Upon successful verification, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) will be qualified to export nuclear fuel.

KAERI said it would work with Belgia's nuclear research institute, SCK CEN, on a five-year study to verify the performance of high-density low-enriched uranium silicide (U3Si2) plate-type fuels. U3Si2 is an accident tolerant fuel due to its advantageous thermophysical properties, including high uranium density and high melting temperature.

"Belgium signed a joint research agreement in recognition of our excellence in that even if low enriched uranium is used, nuclear fuel developed by KAERI can be manufactured at high density due to the characteristics of centrifugal spray powder and maintain the high output of a high-performance research reactor," KAERI's research reactor fuel division head Jeong Yong-jin said in a statement on June 1.

KAERI has developed high-density, low-enriched uranium silicide plate-type fuels by using its centrifugal spray powder technology that uses centrifugal force to mass-produce fine and uniform powders by dissolving uranium silicide at a vacuum temperature of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius and spraying it on a high-speed rotating disk.

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