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LWR-DEPUTY is conceived to fit in the evolution process of the portfolio of experimental research on the way to novel fuels for deep burning of plutonium stockpiles in existing nuclear power plants. The project intends to build upon the experience gained in several 5th FP projects on advanced nuclear fuel and integrate the experience gained in these projects. As mentioned above in paragraph 1, the project is active on two axes of fuel development: thoria based MOX and ceramic-in-metal (CERMET) MOX which are each in a different “phase”. Each of these axes of fuel development will be executed in an independent work package (WP2 and WP3). They will be backed by cross cutting analytic and theoretical activities performed in the fourth work package. The three technical WP’s are of RTD type, there are no demonstration activities in LWR-DEPUTY.

  • WP1 comprises the management activities.
  • WP2 comprises CERMET inert matrix fuel screening irradiations in a LWR simulation loop in a materials test reactor. Qualified fuel production and in-pile performance assessment through intermittent non-destructive and destructive final post-irradiation examination are the main issues.
  • WP3 comprises detailed experimental research of well-characterized thoria and inert matrix based MOX fuels from the 5th FP programs THORIUM CYCLE and OMICO and the international program IFA-651. Radiochemical investigations and detailed post-irradiation examinations will help addressing outstanding questions on the fuel performance and constitute a data base for benchmarking exercises. Research on leaching and assessment of dissolution properties will serve as input for fuel back-end studies.
  • WP4 comprises scenario studies, performance and safety assessment, code and methodology benchmarking and improvement of the thermo-mechanical database on fuel performance.

The three research and technological development work packages are further broken down into different tasks (see detailed WP description forms) that constitute the major tasks of each work package. Regarding implementation, work packages two and three have a great deal of autonomy and there is only a limited risk of conflicting priorities and the progress within one work package does not have major consequences of progress in the other experimental WP. It is obvious that the cross cutting work package (WP4) interferes with other work packages, and as such requires a close follow-up of the progress within this work package and of the progress in other work packages.

Intermediate milestones are foreseen in each WP, as mentioned on the WP description form. Some of these are crucial and could imply a stop point in the project like:

  1. WP2 : fabrication, assembly and transport of the CERMET fuels
  2. WP2 : acceptance for irradiations of the fabricated fuel segments in MTR BR2
  3. WP3 : transport of the (Th,Pu)O2 fuel samples to the different laboratories

In case one of these crucial milestones could not be reached, the Consortium and the European Commission would debate on the technical measures to adopt and on how to (re)-allocate the budget.