Tiankai Yao1 Jie Lian1

1, Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst, Troy, New York, United States

The advanced ceramic fuel development program is exploring revolutionary fuels with the potential of “game-changing” impact on reactor operation & response to beyond design scenario. Key properties of advanced fuels include high thermal conductivity, oxidation resistance, high temperature mechanical properties, and thus improved accident tolerance. Composite ceramic fuels possess distinct advantages to fulfill these key requirements. In addition, the US Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS) program is developing science-based next generation fuel performance modeling capability to facilitate the predictive capability of nuclear fuel performance and critical experimental data are needed to validate the multiscale multiphysics MARMOT models. In this talk, recent advancements of using field-assisted sintering technologies, specifically spark plasma sintering (SPS), in fabricating advanced fuels and engineering fuel matrix as the target systems will be reviewed. Different types of concepts are explored for the advanced fuel designs including graphene-based UO2 composite fuels, large-grained fuel doped by oxide additive and the high uranium density fuel, and the impact on design of accident tolerant fuels is discussed. Recent progresses of using SPS in tailoring and engineering fuel matrix as the target systems for validating MARMOT physics models will also be highlighted. Particularly, monolithic oxide fuels with tailored microstructure including grain size across multiple length scales from nano-metered to micron-sizes, porosity and stoichiometry can be sintered. The impacts of tailored microstructure on thermal-mechanical properties and grain growth kinetics are discussed within the context of the MARMOT modeling.