INL scientist Bruce Mincher is principal investigator on a project studying treatment of TRISO fuel particles, below.
Many reactors worldwide generate electricity using ceramic-based fuels, and uranium oxide (UO2)-based fuel pellets are among the most common. INL research previously focused on metal-based fuels showing them to be passively safe in fast reactors and less comlicated to fabricate compared to oxide and other ceramic fuels. An LDRD team has developed a processing technique which resulted in improved physical and chemical properties of the granules comprising UO2-based fuel pellets. This led to more efficient methods of packing granules into pellets, and homogeneously pressing and densifying the pellets. The scientists have begun applying what they learned about the properties of the ceramic pellets to develop fuel that is more accident tolerant (project 11-051)