The plate-type uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) nuclear fuel that a Korean team recently developed is going through a performance test in an advanced research reactor in the United States. After the test is completed at the end of 2017, the nuclear fuel is to be used in Korea’s new research reactor under construction in Busan City for export purposes.
The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced on Nov. 3 that the test of its plate-type U-Mo nuclear fuel assembly started on Oct. 26 in the ATR research reactor of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
The U-Mo nuclear fuel has a higher level of uranium density than uranium-silicon fuel, and thus it can use low-enriched instead of highly-enriched uranium, while contributing to research reactor performance and efficiency by means of high output and improved combustion. In addition, it allows a research reactor to remain in operation for 300 days, about 1.5 times that allowed by the current fuel.
The institute produced the world’s first U-Mo powder for use in the nuclear fuel by employing its own nuclear fuel powder production technique. This powder almost doubles the uranium density per unit volume, so that even the low-enriched uranium with a degree of enrichment of 20 percent or less can ensure an excellent performance.