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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Advanced Gas Reactor TRISO Fuel Development and Qualification Program: Fueling the Future of Nuclear Power

Date: Thursday, Apr 17th
Presenter: Dave Petti, Director, Very High Temperature Reactor Technology Development Office, Idaho National Laboratory


The objective of the Advanced Gas Reactor Fuel Development and Qualification Program is to qualify uranium oxycarbide (UCO) tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) coated particle fuel for use in the high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR). TRISO-coated particles must be fabricated at industrial scale, as opposed to small batches in a laboratory, for use in qualification testing. The testing consists of a variety of experiments and examinations that enable an understanding of the behavior of TRISO-coated fuel under the radiation and temperature environment expected in an HTGR under both normal operation and accident conditions.

The program also contains experiments to provide an understanding of how the fission products are retained by or transported through the fuel particle kernel, coatings, and the graphite matrix that comprise the reactor core to support the reactor source term calculations. Another important part of the program is the development of fuel performance and source term modeling and simulation computer tools, and the associated physical testing required to validate those tools for use in the HTGR design and safety analysis.

The program has been underway for over a decade. Recent results related to UCO TRISO fuel fabrication, irradiation performance, accident safety testing, and post-irradiation examination, and TRISO fuel performance modeling will be presented that demonstrate the superior performance of UCO TRISO fuel for gas reactor applications. Future plans will also be discussed.

Dr. David Petti is a graduate of the MIT Nuclear Engineering Department and has been recognized as a Fellow at both Idaho National Laboratory and the American Nuclear Society. With over 26 years of experience in nuclear technology, he currently serves as Technical Director of the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) Technology Development Office. In that role, he oversees all research and development for the project including fuels, graphite, high-temperature materials, and design and safety evaluation methods. Dr. Petti is an expert in coated particle fuel technology and represents the U.S. in a variety of forums related to high temperature gas-cooled reactor technology.