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Accelerating nuclear fuel development and qualification: Modeling and simulation integrated with separate-effects testing...

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Journal of Nuclear Materials
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An approach to transform and accelerate nuclear fuel development and qualification is outlined. The approach exploits advanced modeling and simulation at the outset to inform constituent and system selection and to enable integral fuel performance analyses. Analyses using these tools identify and prioritize the most important fuel performance parameters and phenomena for subsequent targeted characterization with separate-effects tests. Separate-effects testing spans out-of-pile and in-pile tests and is meant to iterate with and inform engineering-scale integral fuel performance analyses throughout the development process. Exercising this cycle in an agile fashion will increase confidence in the integral fuel performance predictions while reducing uncertainties. This process sets the stage for executing a much more limited set of well-defined integral irradiation tests designed to validate engineering-scale fuel performance codes and to confirm the performance and safety of the fuel system under prototypic conditions. This approach will reduce the time for development and qualification of a new fuel system, and it will also reduce associated costs.