Research Reactor Section

IAEA Support of Research Reactor HEU to LEU Fuel Conversion


The conversion of the RECH-1 Research Reactor in La Reina, Chile, was completed in May 2006 when a full core of 32 LEU fuel elements was loaded into the reactor. This event marked the completion of a fuel fabrication program that commenced in 1995. Chilean authorities developed a qualified, domestic LEU fuel manufacturing capability to facilitate their conversion program.

IAEA support for this effort commenced in 2001 via TC project CHI/4/021. The objectives were to qualify the irradiation performance of domestically fabricated fuel; to ensure quality control and assurance of silicide fuel; and to improve fuel fabrication technology. The scope of the IAEA project included equipment and services as well as human resource development in support of an irradiation and post irradiation qualification program conducted at the Nuclear Research and consultancy Group (NRG) High Flux Reactor (HFR) facilities in Petten, the Netherlands.

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