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New CRP: Spent Fuel Research and Assessment (SFERA) (T13020)

New Coordinated Research Project
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Fuel exchange at Olkiluoto NPP. (Photo: TVO)

The IAEA is launching a new Coordinated Research Project to address technical challenges in the long-term storage of spent power reactor fuel. The CRP, entitled “Spent Fuel Research and Assessment” (SFERA), will run for four years and will focus on issues related to fuel, fuel cladding and fuel assembly structures.

Knowledge of the long-term performance of materials used in spent fuel and storage systems is required for continued operations and storage system relicensing. Storage durations are increasing due to limited recycling and disposal implementation, fuel discharge burnups are continuing to increase, and new fuel designs are entering reactor service. As such, there is a continued need for collaborative research on spent fuel storage issues and challenges.

For more than 40 years, the IAEA CRPs “Behaviour of Spent Fuel Assemblies in Storage” (BEFAST), “Spent Fuel Performance and Assessment” (SPAR), “Demonstrating Performance of Spent Fuel and Related Storage System Components during Very Long Term Storage” (DEMO), and “Ageing Management Programmes for Dry Storage Systems” (AMP-DSS) have reported the results of participating Member States’ research programmes in support of wet and dry storage options and the ongoing performance of spent fuel as well as systems, structures, and components in storage.

Specific research objectives include:

  • To document Member State experience with spent fuel performance in both wet and dry storage;
  • To collect and exchange relevant Member State experience with spent fuel handling activities;
  • To report research in determining the condition or likely behaviour of spent fuel during storage, particularly in relation to a transition to future handling and subsequent transport;
  • To collate experiences from ongoing programmes, including those implementing new techniques for carrying out spent fuel surveillance and monitoring of spent fuel in storage;
  • To utilize areas of synergy among research projects of participating Member States to establish agreed upon approaches to research and result analysis;
  • To facilitate the transfer of knowledge by documenting the technical basis for spent fuel storage;
  • To extrapolate predictions of spent fuel behaviour over long periods of time.

CRP Overall Objective

To sustain and improve Member States’ technical knowledge base on the long-term behaviour of power reactor spent fuel through sharing and disseminating information, reporting topical research carried out in participating Member States, and documenting ongoing spent fuel performance.

Interested participants must submit Proposals for Research Contract or Agreement by email to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the CRA web portal, no later than 1 July 2021. Note that the same template can be used for both research and technical contracts.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.

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