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Monograph | Nuclear energy | Fuel Cycle

PublicationNuclear fuels

Nuclear energy monograph – Parution : 2009

Fuel is one of the essential components in a nuclear reactor. It is within that fuel that nuclear reactions take place, i.e. fission of heavy atoms, uranium and plutonium. Fuel is at the core of the reactor, but equally at the core of the nuclear system as a whole. Fuel design and properties influence reactor behaviour, performance, and safety. Even though it only accounts for a small part of the cost per kilowatt-hour of power provided by current nuclear power plants, good utilization of fuel is a major economic issue. Major advances have yet to be achieved, to ensure longer in–reactor dwell-time, thus enabling fuel to yield more energy, and improve ruggedness. Aside from economics, and safety, such strategic issues as use of plutonium, conservation of resources, and nuclear waste management have to be addressed, and true technological challenges arise.

This monograph surveys current knowledge regarding in-reactor behaviour, operating limits, and avenues for R&D. It also provides illustrations of ongoing research work, setting out a few noteworthy results recently achieved.


  • Introduction
  • Water reactor fuel
  • Liquid-metal-cooled fast reactor fuel
  • Gas-cooled reactor fuel
  • Research reactor fuel
  • An instrument for future fuel research : the Jules Horowitz Reactor

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