The goal of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Accident Tolerant Fuel Program (ATF) for light water reactors (LWR) is to identify alternative fuel system technologies to further enhance the safety of commercial nuclear power plants. An ATF fuel system would endure loss of cooling in the reactor for a considerably longer period of time than the current systems. The General Electric (GE) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) ATF design concept utilizes an iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) alloy material as fuel rod cladding in combination with uranium dioxide (UO2) fuel pellets currently in use, resulting in a fuel assembly that leverages the performance of existing/current LWR fuel assembly designs and infrastructure with improved accident tolerance. Significant testing was performed in the last three years to characterize FeCrAl alloys for cladding applications, both under normal operation conditions of the reactor and under accident conditions. This article is a state of the art description of the concept.

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