NRC Interactions: Public | Industry | Department of Energy | International

International Interactions

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The NRC frequently interacts with international counterparts through Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) working groups – most notably the Working Group on Fuel Safety – and through international cooperative research programs.

The NRC has received valuable data on ATF and high burnup fuel behavior from several international programs and partners, including the following:

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency-supported Studsvik Cladding Integrity Project (SCIP), led by Studsvik in Sweden, has provided data on high burnup fuel and cladding performance during a simulated loss-of-coolant accident. This includes data on fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal phenomena that have been observed in high burnup fuel.
  • The QUENCH program, led by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, has provided data on iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) alloy cladding performance during a simulated LOCA.
  • The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) has provided data on doped fuel performance during a reactivity-initiated accident conducted in their Nuclear Safety Research Reactor.

NRC continues to participate in international working groups and cooperative research programs to remain informed of relevant policy and technical issues with accident tolerant fuel. This includes the following activities:

  • NRC continues to participate in SCIP and QUENCH and to collaborate with JAEA, as mentioned above. QUENCH will include tests on coated cladding. In addition, NRC participates in the Cabri International Project (CIP), led by the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear (IRSN) in France, to study the behavior of nuclear fuel and cladding during reactivity-initiated accidents. CIP includes tests on high burnup and doped fuel.
  • The NRC is currently leading the development of a Technical Opinion Paper on Accident Tolerant Fuel (TOPATF), as directed by the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations. NRC led a TOPATF workshop in France in March 2020. The final report is expected to be published in early 2021. NRC staff is also working on the development of an International Atomic Energy Agency technical document on current knowledge and a path forward for licensing accident tolerant fuels.
  • NRC staff participates in the Top Fuel conference, at which vendors, universities, national laboratories, and international organizations present their work on nuclear fuel research and development.  Recently, a significant percentage of papers at Top Fuel have been related to ATF and high burnup fuel performance.  The Top Fuel conference was canceled in 2020 due to the challenges with travel stemming from the global pandemic, but plans have been outlined for the conference to resume in 2021.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, February 09, 2023