New CRP: Spent Fuel Research and Assessment (SFERA) (T13020)

The IAEA is launching a new coordinated research project to address the technical challenges of long-term storage of spent reactor fuels. The spent fuel research and evaluation (SFERA) CRP runs for four years and focuses on issues related to fuel, fuel cladding and fuel assembly structures.

Knowledge of the long-term performance of materials used in spent fuel and storage systems is required for continued operation and re-approval of storage systems. The storage time is increasing due to the limited recycling and disposal options, the combustion of fuel discharge continues to increase and new fuel constructions are put into operation. Therefore, there remains a need for joint research on issues and challenges related to spent fuel storage.

For more than 40 years, the IAEA CRPs have been “Behavior of spent fuel elements in storage” (BEFAST), “Performance and assessment of spent fuel elements” (SPAR), “Proof of the performance of spent fuel elements and associated storage system components during long-term storage” (DEMO) and “Aging Management Programs for Dry Storage Systems” (AMP-DSS) reported the results of the research programs of the participating Member States to support wet and dry storage options and the ongoing performance of spent fuel and systems. Structures and components in storage.

Specific research objectives include:

  • Documenting Member States’ experience of spent fuel performance in both wet and dry storage;
  • Gathering and exchanging relevant experience of the Member States in dealing with spent fuel elements;
  • Reporting on research to determine the condition or likely behavior of spent fuel during storage, particularly in connection with a transition to future handling and subsequent transportation;
  • Gain experience from ongoing programs, including those implementing new spent fuel monitoring and spent fuel monitoring techniques;
  • Use areas of synergy between research projects in the participating Member States to define agreed approaches to research and analysis of results;
  • Facilitation of knowledge transfer through documentation of the technical principles for the storage of spent fuel elements;
  • Extrapolation of predictions about the behavior of spent fuel elements over long periods of time.

Overall CRP target

Maintain and improve the Member States’ technical knowledge base on the long-term behavior of spent fuel from power reactors by exchanging and disseminating information, reporting on current research carried out in the participating Member States and documenting ongoing spent fuel performance.

Interested participants must email proposals for a research contract or arrangement to the IAEA Research Contract Management Department by July 1, 2021 at the latest, using the appropriate template on the CRA web portal. Note that the same template can be used for both research and technical contracts.

For more information on this CRP, prospective applicants should use the contact form on the CRP page.

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