After the 2011 Fukushima accident, in response to Congressional guidance, DOE-NE has supported an active ATF Program supporting development and commercialization of advance LWR fuel.
The goal of this ATF development effort is to have one or more LWR advanced fuel concepts in commercial implementation
in the United States by 203 0. Toward that end several concepts are being pursued that involve either coating on existing LWR clad material or a new non-metallic type of cladding.
The silicon-carbide ceramic matrix clad concept is an example of the latter.The operational constraint on all ATF concepts is that they fit geometrically into existing LWRs, and, in comparison with standard LWR fuel, should be able to tolerate loss of active cooling in a severe accident for a considerably longer time period, and maintain or improve fuel performance during normal operations.
Because of its non-metallic nature, silicon-carbide fiber, as used in the silicon-fiber ceramic matrix concept, has a potential to tolerate higher accident transient temperatures and thereby meet desired ATF safety enhancements.
However, because this cladding concept is based on a woven fiber and not cast or drawn as in metal based concepts, it has significant manufacturing development hurdles that must also be addressed, such as in the joining of end cap material with tubular body in a way that does not compromise the finished fuel pin integrity.The objectives of this FOA is to fund a project that will enhance of the chances for this concept to be successful toward meeting the ATF Program goal.
Using the funds provided by the Congressional 2020 guidance, the successful applicant to this FOA, in cooperation with an existing U. S. utility, will affect an earlier near-term irradiation of its silicon-carbide ceramic matrix concept in an existing U. S. commercial reactor than would be possible under any existing program.