The need for further improving the understanding of basic phenomena underlying nuclear fuel behaviour has been recognised both by fuel vendors, experts in fuel research in the different laboratories and committees and working groups co-ordinating international activities. The OECD/NEA Nuclear Science Committee has established an Experts Group addressing this issue. This has led to establishing an International Fuel Performance Experiments Database (IFPE) that should help model evaluation and validation. Many years ago the IAEA established an International Working Group on Fuel Performance and Technology (IWGFPT) that led to the FUMEX-I and FUMEX-II (Fuel Modelling Exercise) which has had an important impact on code improvements. Both international organisations, with the support of national organisations, co-operate in establishing and maintaining the Database and to build confidence in the predictive power of the models through international comparison exercises. But above all the different parties have agreed that seminars focussed on specific phenomena would be beneficial to exchange current knowledge, identify outstanding problems and agree on common action that would lead to improved understanding of the phenomena. A series of three seminars has been initiated by the Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique (CEA), Electricité de France (EdF), Framatome and Cogéma under the aegis of the OECD/NEA and the IAEA.
1. Thermal Performance of High Burn-Up LWR Fuel at Cadarache, France, from 3 to 6 of March 1998. Thermal performance occupies the most important aspect of the fuel performance modelling. Not only is it extremely important from a safety point of view, but also many of the material properties of interest and behaviour, such as transport properties like fuel creep and fission gas release are thermally activated processes. Thus, in order to model these processes correctly, it is critical to calculate temperatures and their distribution as accurately as possible.
2. Fission Gas Behaviour in Water Reactor Fuels, at Cadarache, France from 26-29 September 2000. The aim of this seminar was to draw up a comprehensive picture of our current understanding of fission gas behaviour and its impact on the fuel rod, under the widest possible conditions.
3. Pellet-Clad Interaction in Water Reactor Fuels, at Aix-en-Provence, France from 9-11 March 2004. The aim of this seminar was to draw up a comprehensive picture of our current understanding of pellet clad interaction and its impact on the fuel rod, under the widest possible conditions.
The proceedings of these seminars are assembled here