One of the main drawbacks of uranium dioxide, which is used in almost all nuclear power reactors, is its low thermal conductivity. As a consequence, temperature at the center of fuel pellet is relatively high, because heat is poorly conducted away. To reach a higher level of safety, maximal temperature in any fuel pellet is one of the main limiting parameters, which restrict the fuel thermal output. This paper deals with the use of thorium in LWR fuels with the objective of fuel pellet maximal temperature reduction.
Research investigating homogenous distribution of thorium dioxide (thoria) in uranium dioxide fuel has already been done and did not lead to considerable thermal conductivity improvements. The aim of this study is to investigate heterogeneous distribution of thorium in commonly used uranium dioxide fuel in the form of uranium and thorium pellets placed together.