An additive manufacturing technology for the fabrication and characterization of nuclear reactor fuel
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
Free Form Fibers
10 Cady Hill Boulevard, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866-9045
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThe Department of Energy (DOE) has been tasked by the US administration to give priority to developing enhanced fuels and cladding for Light Water Reactors to improve safety in the event of accidents in the reactor or spent fuel pools. Within this context, the DOE is calling for advanced technologies for the fabrication and characterization of nuclear fuel. Specifically, the DOE is inviting (1) new innovative LWR fuel concepts with a focus on improved performance under accident scenarios and (2) advanced automated, accurate, continuous vs. batch mode process techniques to improve TRISO particle fuel and compacts. In this proposal, Free Form Fibers seeks to integrate the concepts of micro-embedded TRISO-inspired nuclear fuel into the structural equivalent of LWR fuel rods so as to form passively safe, accident-tolerant fuel rods that would be drop-in substitute for current fuels. The proposed project is made possible by the confluence of advances in additive micro-fabrication that would not only transform TRISO fuel fabrication from batch to continuous manufacturing, but would also embed them in high temperature and radiation resistant Silicon Carbide. The proposed technology is expected to produce accident-tolerant fuel rods that can safely extend the life of LWR, reduce the fuel production costs, allow longer, deeper and more efficient fuel burns, and concomitantly reduce nuclear waste. The manufacturing innovations behind the proposed fuel rods is expected to reduce the cost of once- though nuclear fuel, while erecting technological barriers to reprocessing, recycling, and ultimately proliferation of nuclear materials.
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