Searching for a single and complete resource about nuclear fuels

In summary, nuclear fuels can be divided into three types: oxide fuels used in light water reactors (LWRs), fast reactors, and molten salt reactors (MSRs); uranium- oxide (UO2) and uranium- nitride (UN) solid fuel types; and thorium-based fuels. There is a lot of scattered information on the internet, and a comprehensive resource is needed to comprehensively cover all fuel types.
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TL;DR Summary
I am looking for a comprehensive resource (paper, book or any kind of document) that contains the most relevant properties of most nuclear fuels
Hello,

I am looking for a comprehensive resource (paper, book or any kind of document) that contains the most relevant properties of most nuclear fuels. To be more specific, the information i am looking for are thermophysical properties, chemical compatibility with other materials and neutronic features of as many nuclear fuel as possible ( I am more interested in uranium based solid state fuels like UO2, UN, UZrH, UMo, UC..).

Unfortunately i was able to find just scattered information, most of the papers talk about specific aspects of specific fuels.
The most complete resource i was able to find is this publication by IAEA, but unfortunately it miss some fuels and do not consider many aspects (https://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/IAEA-THPH_web.pdf).

Are you aware of any comprehensive resource?

Thanks in advance!
 
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  • #2
Honestly, that IAEA pub you linked has more information than I have seen in one place. You may have to search more specifically for information you need that is not included there.

Calling @Astronuc
 
  • #3
mark_bose said:
TL;DR Summary: I am looking for a comprehensive resource (paper, book or any kind of document) that contains the most relevant properties of most nuclear fuels

the information i am looking for are thermophysical properties, chemical compatibility with other materials and neutronic features of as many nuclear fuel as possible ( I am more interested in uranium based solid state fuels like UO2, UN, UZrH, UMo, UC..).

Unfortunately i was able to find just scattered information, most of the papers talk about specific aspects of specific fuels.
I'm aware of one comprehensive reference, Comprehensive Nuclear Materials, published by Elsevier, and even that is limited. It covers many of the topics and fuel materials, and contains a huge amount of references. It consists of topical chapters written by folks involved in the development/design, manufacturing or use of the materials, but it also has holes.

https://www.elsevier.com/books/comprehensive-nuclear-materials/konings/978-0-08-102865-0
Edition 2 was published 2019-2021, while Edition 1 was published 2012.

Under TOC for Edition 2
Section 1. Fundamentals of Radiation Effects in Solids
Section 2. Computational Theory, Simulation, and Modelling
Section 3. Oxide Fuel Systems in Thermal and Fast Neutron Spectrum Reactors
Section 4. Advanced Fuel Concepts, Research Reactor Fuels, and Space Applications
Section 5. Radiation Effects in Materials for Fission Energy Systems
Section 6. Radiation Effects in Materials for Fusion Energy Systems
Section 7. Corrosion, Compatibility, and Environmental Effects
Section 8. Spent Fuel Processing and Waste Disposal
Section 9. Basic Properties of Nuclear Materials

Note that oxide fuel is separate from Advanced Fuel Concepts.

Outside of CNM, there are texts, but they are usually devoted to UO2/MOX (i.e., oxide fuels) or UN/UC (for fast reactors), UMo, UZr/(U,Pu)Zr, . . . .

The LWR industry has access to MATPRO, a part of the SCDAP/RELAP code system for accident analysis. MATPRO contains a lot of the thermophysics, thermomechanical and behavioral models used in many LWR fuel performance/safety analysis codes, such as NRC FRAPCON/FRAPTRAN/FAST codes.

Nuclear fuel designs depend on the type of reactor in which the fuel will be used. For example, UO2 and MOX used in LWRs are clad in Zr-based alloys, e.g., Zircaloy-4 (PWR) or Zircaloy-2 (BWR), which are legacy alloys. Since the 1980s, PWR fuel designers/manufacturers have introduced Zr-Nb and Zr-Nb-Sn alloys, with varying amounts of Fe. Variants of Zircaloy-2 are still used in BWRs.

Fast reactors have traditionally used MOX (U,Pu)O2 clad in stainless steel, e.g., 316 or HT9, and in some cases, more exotic alloys. Use of MC or MN (M = Ux,Pu1-x), or metal fuels, e.g., UMo or MZr, or more limited. Use of UZrH is also limited to research reactors like TRIGA systems. Usually, there are texts/monograms or conference proceedings devoted to specific fuel systems. For example, there is an EU document on thermophysical properties of nuclear fuel (THERSYST) maintained by University of Stuttgart. I haven't followed it closely, so I don't know how up to date it is now.
https://www-pub.iaea.org/mtcd/publications/pdf/te_1496_web.pdf

Usually thermophysical properties are covered separately from thermomechanical and behavioral properties (e.g., fission gas release, fuel swelling, corrosion, fuel-cladding chemical compatibility/interaction). There are topical reports devoted to specific aspects, e.g., fission gas release and rod internal pressure, or PCI, cladding corrosion, . . . .

I use a lot of proprietary information/data, so much of what I use is not available publicly, but I do use Comprehensive Nuclear Materials, and I'm a contributor and reviewer of some articles.
 
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  • #4
Lots of this information will be proprietary and so not intended to be public. Often what you get is "textbook" examples that have been simplified and idealized for homework assignments. I'm in the Canadian nuclear industry, for example. The details of the fuel (geometric measurements, chemical content, density, etc.) are not exactly secret, but they don't usually put them up on web sites or in public domain publications. There is quite a lot of info about previous versions of the fuel on line at this web site.
http://canteach.candu.org/Pages/Welcome.aspx
 
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  • #5
May we ask why you want this information? Getting it may be difficult, and perhaps there is another way to achieve your goal.
 
  • #6
Grelbr42 said:
I'm in the Canadian nuclear industry, for example. The details of the fuel (geometric measurements, chemical content, density, etc.) are not exactly secret, but they don't usually put them up on web sites or in public domain publications.

This is true for the fuel vendors in the US as well. The investment in developing new fuel and clad material is very expensive and takes many years.

anorlunda said:
perhaps there is another way to achieve your goal.

I agree with this also.
 
  • #7
First of all thank you for the help. All the resources you linked seem very interesting. I was looking for the resources mentioned by @Astronuc and i found this interactive database from IAEA called THERMPRO (maybe it is linked to the THERSYST document?) https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/therpro/SitePages/BasicSearch.aspx?web=1
It contains a lot of materials thermophysical properties.

As far as concerns my goals: i am involved in a reasearch activity that is related to the study and design of micro-reactors. In this phase i need to select the most appropriate materials, and so also the fuel. For this reason it would be useful to have some kind of document that contains all the relevant information about most popular fuels. Actually, i do not need to know everything about each material, but at least basic thermophysical properties and the chemical compatibility (chemical compatibility seems to be less mentioned in the papers i have seen so far) between the various reactor components is important for decide wisely.

Ideally, i would like to have a document that says: "my dear engineer, if you want to use *this* fuel in your reactor, you must know *this*, *this* and *this*. It resist up to *this* temperature, and it can be in contact with *this*, and *this* materials." Probably such document does not exist (or maybe the "comprehensive nuclear material" book is like that, i was not able to obtain it yet), but it was worth to ask you.

I hope that now it is clearer what i am looking for, and thanks again.
 
  • #8
Ay ay ay. To do that properly, you need a graduate degree in nuclear engineering, and the years of study that go with it. A single document is far too little.

But if the research project is academic, you could just ignore all those detailed properties and focus on the big picture.

Quoting Alexander Pope, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
 
  • #9
mark_bose said:
i found this interactive database from IAEA called THERMPRO (maybe it is linked to the THERSYST document?) https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/therpro/SitePages/BasicSearch.aspx?web=1
It contains a lot of materials thermophysical properties.

THERMPRO is a collection/database of thermophysical properties, of which THERSYST would be a subset. IAEA and OECD are interested in supporting accident analysis of nuclear systems. MATPRO (US) has a similar purpose, as well as providing properties for steady-state fuel performance, which provides the initial condition for accident analysis.

Broadly, for reactor design, one needs:
1. Thermophysical properties - for thermal calculations involving temperatures
2. Thermomechanical properties - for mechanical calculations, as functions of temperatures
3. Chemical/behavioral models - fuel restructuring, fission gas retention/release, internal pressure, swelling (of fuel and cladding), corrosion, fuel-cladding chemical interaction, cladding-coolant chemical interaction, coolant behavior, . . .
4. Nuclear properties - neutron energy spectrum, fission product inventory, transmutation in structural materials, radiation damage in structural materials, reactivity control, conversion/breeding capability, . . . .

One has to decide on thermodynamic cycle(s) between the core (primary source of thermal energy) and heat/electrical systems providing energy to customers.

Before that, one must decide on the mission of the reactor (e.g., mobile or static). A microreactor for space applications would ideally be as light as possible. A terrestrial system could be more massive.

Choice of materials requires tradeoffs of thermomechanical capabilities vs nuclear properties, availability, cost, . . .

As for commonality, UO2 is perhaps the most common fuel form with a lot of experience. UN/UC (greater U density and thermal conductivity than UO2) are attractive for fast reactors, but problematic in LWRs.

Neutronically, one has to decide on the type of neutron spectrum: fast/hard vs epithermal vs thermal vs mixed spectrum (fast/thermal).

With respect to fuel cycle design, one needs to decide if the core will remain intact to end of life (EOL) or will be refueled on some period.

A given design will require its own design/materials database, which will require multiple sources of data/information. Using a single source of data would be insufficient given the sensitivity of some properties and behaviors to material composition.Edit/update:
mark_bose said:
TL;DR Summary: I am looking for a comprehensive resource (paper, book or any kind of document) that contains the most relevant properties of most nuclear fuels

The most complete resource i was able to find is this publication by IAEA, but unfortunately it miss some fuels and do not consider many aspects (https://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/IAEA-THPH_web.pdf).
The IAEA reference cited focuses primarily thermophysical properties based on Russian materials and experience, which is fine, but it is limited. Russians have a lot of very good data/information. However, as is the case with different manufacturers (regardless of national origin), one must realize that properties of fuel and structural materials have sensitivities to composition (including impurities) and manufacturing processes (which influences chemical homogeneity and microstructure), which one must determine on a case-by-case basis. The data in IAEA-THPH document should be cross-checked with other available data, as is the case for any data taken from published literature. Most manufacturers of various materials provide disclaimers that indicate thermal and mechanical properties are representative, but not necessarily guaranteed, and as such, the properties may be appropriate for scoping calculations or comparative use, but are not necessarily appropriate for design and analysis.
 
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