Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials Section

Nuclear Power Reactor Fuel Engineering

Technical meeting on high burnup fuel experience and economics
26-29 November 2013
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Deadline for application and abstract submission has been extended until 13 September 2013

Over the past decade the discharge irradiation level of nuclear power plants fuel has increased steadily as experience has accumulated and as technological developments have progressed. This development is mainly attributable to the increased economic benefit that comes from the reduced throughput of fuel that results from higher burnup. This is particularly noticeable in the costs for fuel fabrication and back-end services where the price paid relates to a unit mass of fuel. Another benefit has been the increased operational flexibility that high burnups allow.

To achieve this increase in burnup the main changes have been made to the increase of fuel enrichment, and continues development of fuel materials and their manufacture to ensure reliability over the extended times spent in the reactor. There are also issues surrounding management of waste and highly irradiated fuel that are considered to minimize the cost of electrical energy generation subject to operational and safety constraints.

Despite different fuel designs and many specific issues that the light and heavy water reactors have, there are nevertheless high burnup aspects of common interest both in terms of materials behaviour and in economical assessments.

This technical meeting (TM) is part of the series of IAEA meetings, which were held upon recommendations of the IAEA Technical Working Group on Fuel Performance and Technology (TWGFPT), to review the evolution of the fuel properties at increased burnup, to consider the limitations that remain on fuel dwell, and to discuss the economic issues surrounding high burnup fuel and associated fuel management strategies, aiming at implementation of high burnup fuel strategies and reduction of the overall power generation costs. The TM will be hosted by the National Commission on Atomic Energy of Argentina (CNEA) and held in Buenos Aires on 26-29 November 2013.

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