Texas A&M receives $4.5 million to study the aging of stored used nuclear fuel

McdeavittThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Texas A&M University $4.5 million over the next three years to research the aging of stored used nuclear fuel.

The project, ““Fuel Aging in Storage and Transportation (FAST): Accelerated Characterization and Performance Assessment of the Used Nuclear Fuel Storage System” has been selected for negotiation of award and will be lead by Dr. Sean McDeavitt, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Funding for the project is through the Integrated Research Projects (IRP) program under the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), which supports large, multiyear projects led by teams of American universities working to develop cross-cutting breakthroughs in nuclear energy technologies.

McDeavitt will lead a team of 18 principal investigators and their respective research groups at six universities and two national laboratories. The organization will function as a matrixed engineering research team focused on four distinct, yet integrated technical mission areas: low temperature creep; hydrogen behavior and delayed hydride cracking; UNF canister corrosion; and novel system monitoring. These areas are designed to address challenges relevant to almost every independent spent fuel storage installation system currently deployed or under development, with a special emphasis on high burnup fuel.

The overall objective is to create predictive tools in the form of observation methods, phenomenological models, and databases that will enable the design, installation, and licensing of dry used nuclear fuel storage systems that will be capable of containing used nuclear fuel for up to 300 years.

Partners include Boise State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Savannah River National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“The project at Texas A&M supports the cutting-edge nuclear energy research that will advance our domestic nuclear industry and help us maintain global leadership in the field,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Through this investment we are also training and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry to help build a strong new energy economy.”

For the full list of projects selected for award and for additional information about NEUP visit the Nuclear Energy University Programs website.