Uranium & Fuel

Triso / CNL Fabricates Advanced Small Modular Reactor Fuel

By David Dalton
15 April 2021

CNL Fabricates Advanced Small Modular Reactor Fuel
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has fabricated fully ceramic microencapsulated fuel pellets, an advanced and proprietary reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) for its micro modular reactor.

The project, funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative, represents the first time that a Tristructural-Isotropic (Triso)-based fuel has been manufactured in Canada.

USNC’s pellet design consists of spherical Triso particles dispersed in a matrix of silicon carbide. The Triso particles have a layered structure with a dense fuel kernel, coated with layers of graphite and silicon carbide. This makes the particles incredibly robust and able to withstand intense heat and pressure.

For these reasons, Triso fuels are being proposed for a number of new small and advanced reactor designs under consideration in Canada.

Triso fuels are structurally more resistant to neutron irradiation, corrosion, oxidation and high temperatures – the factors that most impact fuel performance – than traditional reactor fuels.

Simply put, Triso particles cannot melt in a reactor and can withstand extreme temperatures that are well beyond the threshold of current nuclear fuels.

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