The inert matrix fuels are a promising option to reduce-eliminate worldwide plutonium stockpiles by burning it in LWRs. These fuels, where plutonium is hosted in a U-free inert matrix phase, may reach high burning efficiency while preventing new plutonium build-up under irradiation. A specific investigation on CSZ and thoria inert matrices has been developed by ENEA since several years. In-pile testing on the ENEA-conceived innovative fuels is ongoing in the OECD Halden HBWR since June 2000 (IFA-652 experiment). The registered burnup at the end of 2005 is about 38 MWd·kgUeq−1 vs. 45 MWd·kgUeq−1 (40 MWd·kgUOXeq−1) target. Fuel pins are equipped with fuel temperature thermocouples, internal pressure transducers and fuel stack elongation sensors, with the task of studying thermal conductivity and its degradation with burnup, densification-swelling behaviour and the FGR. In this paper, the response at low burnup (< 7 MWd·kgUeq−1) of CSZ-based fuels loaded in IFA-652, is analysed by means of the TRANSURANUS code. To this purpose, a comprehensive modelling of the above mentioned un-irradiated fuels, mainly relying on the thermophysical characterisation performed at the JRC/ITU-Karlsruhe, has been implemented in a custom TRANSURANUS version (TU-IMF). A comparison of the code predictions vs. the experimental data, aimed at evaluating the early-stage under irradiation phenomena, particularly densification and relocation, has been performed.

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