The NEA Second Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES-II) supports the fuel and material experimental needs of nuclear safety regulators, technical support organisations, research institutions and industry and safeguards experimental knowledge for future generations. FIDES-II connects a global network of research facilities to perform high-priority experiments through Joint ExpErimental Programmes (JEEPs).
Four Joint ExpErimental Programmes (JEEPs) are included in the 2022–2024 FIDES-II programme of work, which cover a wide range of research needs:
Sustaining multinational nuclear fuel and materials testing capacities for safety, industry and science
The FIDES-II framework will help regulators, their technical support organisations, research organisations and the industry to consolidate their needs and resources in order to create a dynamic for implementing Joint ExpErimental Programmes (JEEPs) in key nuclear fuel and materials facilities around the world.
A product of the FIDES-II Membership, April 2023
As an international research collaboration, FIDES-II is relatively unique in its ability to consider research opportunities independent of a specific research facility. The design of FIDES-II allows members to benefit from a portfolio of in-pile facilities. With this in mind, the members of FIDES-II have prepared a 10-year strategic plan that defines at a high level their key research needs in a variety of technical disciplines.
The safe, reliable and efficient operation of nuclear power plants requires nuclear fuel and materials (F&M) technology to evolve and for their performances to be optimised. Achieving this requires solid experimental evidence, which can only be obtained from test facilities with the ability to perform neutron irradiation under representative steady state or transient conditions. F&M test facilities are essential for:
However, the number of available test facilities around the world are in significant decline. In the past five years, several major research reactors that provided testing services for the nuclear community were shut down after over fifty years of service. These included the Halden reactor in Norway, the OSIRIS in France, the JMTR in Japan, the NRU in Canada, among others.
Regulators and their technical support organisations, research organisations, and the industry all require F&M testing capacities on an ongoing basis. Some recent experience of test facilities attempting to re-establish prior capabilities has shown that the process can be extremely costly and time-consuming, further emphasising the importance of preserving experimental know-how through on-going research activity. In particular, the know-how and availability of test facilities for loss-of-coolant accidents, reactivity-initiated accidents and power ramps, is crucial.
FIDES is a project that truly arose from the needs of the community. As early as 2018, the international community had identified an emerging need to strengthen the network of international research facilities capable of meeting the unique and challenging needs for nuclear fuel and material development. The permanent closure of the Halden Reactor in Norway in June 2018, a key research facility in the area of nuclear fuel and materials research, brought new urgency to the conversation. A series of meetings with international experts and decision makers was organised to discuss the needs and define a solution. It was through these meetings that the FIDES framework emerged.
Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, European Commission (EC)
Member contributions to FIDES fees: EUR 12 Million
Work scope value: Approximately EUR 24 Million