Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
1999 International RERTR Meeting
PROGRESS OF THE RERTR PROGRAM IN 1999*
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, Illinois, USA
This paper describes the progress achieved by the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) Program in collaboration with its many international partners during 1999 and discusses planned activities for the coming year.
The past year was characterized by exceptionally important accomplishments and events for the RERTR program.
- Three additional shipments containing 1,006 spent fuel assemblies from foreign research reactors were accepted by the U.S. Altogether, 3,237 spent fuel assemblies from foreign research reactors have been received by the U.S. under the acceptance policy.
- Postirradiation examinations of the first two batches of microplates revealed good irradiation behavior of U-6Mo, and excellent irradiation behavior of U-Mo alloys with higher Mo content or with small Ru additions. Irradiation of a new batch of microplates to investigate the behavior of these fuels at high temperatures is scheduled to begin in October 1999. These materials hold the promise of achieving the program goal of developing LEU research reactor fuels with uranium densities in the 8-9 g /cm3 range.
- Progress on irradiation testing and safety analyses was made in the Russian RERTR program, which aims to develop and demonstrate the technical means needed to convert Russian-supplied research reactors to LEU fuels.
- The U.S. Government has decided to aggressively pursue, in cooperation with the Russian Government, eventual conversion of three Russian plutonium production reactors to the use of low-enriched UO2-Al dispersion fuel. This effort is now proceeding, with assistance from RERTR personnel.
- At the request of the German government, the RERTR program has addressed the performance of a new alternative LEU FRM-II core design that could be installed in the same building structure erected for the current 20 MW HEU design with the same 50-day fuel life. The results have been favorable.
- Significant improvements were made in the design of an LEU metal-foil target that would allow efficient production of fission 99Mo without reliance on HEU. Targets containing LEU metal foils in the new target design were irradiated in the RAS-GAS reactor at BATAN, Indonesia, the foils were separated from the targets, and 99Mo was successfully extracted.
These are exciting times for the program. The most interesting developments, and the greatest challenges, are in the fuel development area. The RERTR plans to aggressively pursue the goal of achieving 8-9 gU/cm3 in the fuel meat. In addition, the program plans to qualify as soon as possible, working in conjunction with commercial fuel fabricators, U-Mo fuels with 5-6 gU/cm3 that can be used as substitutes for silicide fuels. As in the past, the success of the RERTR program will depend on the international friendship and cooperation that have always been its trademark.
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Dr. Armando Travelli
Nuclear Engineering – 362
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439
Phone: (630) 252-63639
Fax: (630) 252-5161