The world’s first plate-type uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) nuclear fuel assembly developed by South Korean researchers successfully completed an international performance test.
The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced on April 26 that its plate-type U-Mo nuclear fuel has been found to be stable and reliable after testing at an advanced research reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory in the U.S.
The U-Mo nuclear fuel is a low-enriched uranium (LEU) with an enrichment of less than 20 percent but it has a higher level of uranium density than uranium-silicon fuel, improving performance and efficiency. So, it is expected to contribute to the non-proliferation in the world. The fuel will be used in Korea’s new research reactor under construction in Gijang District of Busan City for export purposes.
The KAERI had tested its U-Mo nuclear fuel at the research reactor of the INL for 17 months from October 2015 and verified the stability and reliability of the fuel. The test results at the INL will be used as data to receive approval of Korea’s new research reactor in Busan City for export purposes, along with the results of post-irradiation tests to be carried out in the next six months. The KAERI expects that the success in the latest test will help gain approval of construction consent for the new export research reactor in Busan.
In addition, the institute believes that the U-Mo nuclear fuel will open a new export market worth 20 billion won (US$17.68 million) a year. Previously, the KAERI developed the plate-type U-Mo nuclear fuel by combining its own centrifugal spray nuclear fuel powder manufacturing technology developed in 2014 and its nuclear fuel design and manufacturing technology.