Working Party on Scientific Issues of Advanced Fuel Cycles (WPFC)

Under the guidance of the Nuclear Science Committee (NSC), the Working Party on Scientific Issues of Advanced Fuel Cycles (WPFC) studies advanced nuclear fuel cycles, including fuel cycle scenarios, innovative fuels and materials, separation chemistry, waste disposal and coolant technologies

Created in 2004, the WPFC was restructured in 2020 with a revised scope that puts additional emphasis on the back-end of nuclear fuel cycles and on advanced fuel cycles of innovative systems.

The WPFC's objective is to provide the member countries with up-to-date information, preserve knowledge on, and develop consensus in the following areas.

Fuel cycle scenarios

  • Assessment of advanced fuel cycles scenarios, including resource utilisation, waste management and transition phases;
  • Fuel cycle tools, databases, and evaluation of associated uncertainties.

Recycling and waste technologies

  • Keep updated information, assess and preserve data on separation technologies, including advanced aqueous and pyrochemical processing issues for different fuel cycle scenarios;
  • Improve waste management in advanced fuel cycles: reduce, recycle and reuse.

Fuels and materials

  • Keep updated information and preserve data on fuel and fuel element (fuel and cladding) development for implementing in advanced systems and associated fuel cycles;
  • Evaluate innovative fuels and fuel elements (fuel and cladding), including fabrication processes, characterisation, behaviour, property measurement, performance and qualification.

Reactor coolant and components technologies

  • Keep updated information and preserve data on coolant technologies and interactions between the coolants and components/materials;
  • Assess the environmental effects relevant for construction standards based on a fundamental understanding of materials behaviour;
  • Answer key technical issues to address radiological impact, operation, handling, maintenance and inspection as relevant for licensing.

Advanced fuel cycles, partitioning and transmutation (P&T) and accelerator-driven systems

  • Discuss and exchange on recent developments in the field of
    • advanced fuel cycles including P&T and Pu management;
    • accelerator and neutron source; subcritical system design and relationship to nuclear fuel cycles.

The WPFC also aims at:

  • providing advice to the nuclear community on the developments needed to meet the requirements for qualification of fuel cycle technologies;
  • preserving and evaluating data through collection and sharing experimental results;
  • providing recommendations to the nuclear community and decision makers;
  • disseminating information through the organisation of workshops and information exchange meetings;
  • assessing and defining Technology Readiness Level (TRL) requirements and metrics.

The WPFC liaises closely with other NEA working groups, especially with the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC), the Working Party on Nuclear Energy Economics (WPNE) and with the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) to ensure the respective programmes of work are complementary and to provide advice and support where required, undertaking jointly work where appropriate. Particularly close working relationships are maintained with the Working Party on Scientific Issues and Uncertainty Analysis of Reactor Systems (WPRS) and the Working Party on Multi-scale Modelling of Fuels and Structural Materials for Nuclear Systems (WPMM) as well as with the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). The WPFC also works in co-operation with other international organisations (European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency). 

WPFC objectives infographic

Working Party meeting information from 2004 to date can be found in the WPFC members' area below.

Related workshops and events

Additional information

WPFC members' area (password protected | reminder).


Gabriele Grassi

WPFC Expert Group on Fuel Recycling and Waste Technology (EGFRW)

Under the guidance of the Working Party on Scientific Issues of Advanced Fuel Cycles (WPFC), the Expert Group on Fuel Recycling and Waste Technology (EGFRW) focuses on the separation processes relevant to recycling technologies for spent nuclear fuel including reprocessing, waste treatment, recycling and reuse of spent fuel components but excluding long-term (dry/wet) spent fuel storage technologies.

WPFC Expert Group on Innovative Fuel Elements (EGIFE)

Under the guidance of the Working Party on Scientific Issues of Advanced Fuel Cycles (WPFC), the Expert Group on Innovative Fuel Elements (EGIFE) conducts joint and comparative studies to identify technical issues and support the development of innovative fuels that can be implemented in advanced nuclear fuel cycles.

WPFC Expert Group on Reactor Coolants/Components Technology (EGCoCoT)

Under the guidance of the Working Party on Scientific Issues of Advanced Fuel Cycles (WPFC), the Expert Group on Reactor Coolants and Components Technology (EGCoCoT) undertakes activities with the goal to collect, evaluate and preserve relevant scientific data and to "translate" fundamental scientific understanding into application in support of i) the Development of construction codes used for design (design rules), ii) Key technical issues for licensing, and iii) Recommendations for Operation, Inspection and Handling.