Status of advanced fuel candidates for Sodium Fast Reactor within the Generation IV International Forum
The main challenge for fuels for future Sodium Fast Reactor systems is the development and qualification of a nuclear fuel sub-assembly which meets the Generation IV International Forum goals. The Advanced Fuel project investigates high burn-up minor actinide bearing fuels as well as claddings and wrappers to withstand high neutron doses and temperatures. The R&D outcome of national and collaborative programs has been collected and shared between the AF project members in order to review the capability of sub-assembly material and fuel candidates, to identify the issues and select the viable options. Based on historical experience and knowledge, both oxide and metal fuels emerge as primary options to meet the performance and the reliability goals of Generation IV SFR systems. There is a significant positive experience on carbide fuels but major issues remain to be overcome: strong in-pile swelling, atmosphere required for fabrication as well as Pu and Am losses. The irradiation performance database for nitride fuels is limited with longer term R&D activities still required. The promising core material candidates are Ferritic/Martensitic (F/M) and Oxide Dispersed Strengthened (ODS) steels.