The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute announced on Jan. 6 that it completed the prototype of a nuclear fuel assembly for its Prototype Gen-IV Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (PGSFR) and would test it in Russia’s BOR-60 fast research reactor from June this year. After the test, the PGSFR will be built by 2028 and nuclear fuel loaded for the completion of domestic nuclear fuel development for fast reactors.
The institute started its nuclear fuel research process in 2007 and has invested 37 billion won since then to work on metallic fuel casting equipment, fuel rods and assembly production processes, and nuclear fuel components such as coating pipes. Then, it finished quality inspection and tests in a research reactor in Korea.
The tests showed that the coating pipe, which constitutes the first step of reactor safety maintenance, has a high-temperature resistance at least 30 percent higher than those of other countries. In addition, the pipe was found to be capable of enduring extremely high-temperature and high-pressure conditions and improving the thermal efficiency of nuclear reactors to contribute to the generation of more electric power.
The institute is planning to test the nuclear fuel until 2020 and then expand the laboratory processes. The specific design approval is to be obtained by the same year, research projects with the United States are to be started for reliability and safety enhancement based on pyroprocessing, and then the PGSFR is to be built by 2028 before the nuclear fuel loading.