The NEA Second Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES-II) is a multilateral effort established to preserve and strengthen the global fuel and materials experimental capacity. This facilitates high-priority safety and operational related experiments which benefit a broad community of users from around the world.
Members of FIDES-II, coming from 12 countries around the world, assembled at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) on 17-21 October 2022 for the first meetings of its Technical Advisory Group and Governing Board.
FIDES-II connects a global network of research facilities and builds on the first FIDES programme that began in March 2021.
During the meetings, the members received updates on the progress of three Joint Experimental Programmes (JEEPs):
- High Burnup Experiments in Reactivity Initiated Accidents (HERA), where modern high burnup fuel will be tested in the TREAT reactor at INL, USA;
- Power to Melt and Manoeuvrability (P2M), where operational margins at high power will be investigated at BR2 reactor in SCK CEN, Belgium and post irradiation examination LECA-STAR facility in CEA, France;
- In-pile Creep Studies of ATF Cladding (INCA), where advanced technology fuel (ATF) chromium coating claddings are being irradiated in the LVR-15 reactor in the CVR located in the Czech Republic.
LVR-15 Reactor operated by CVR, where FIDES-II experiments are generating data
The practice of holding FIDES-II meetings around the world offers members the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the capabilities available for research under the framework. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) provided the first opportunity for a site visit, allowing members to see first-hand the TREAT reactor being used in HERA, as well as some of the other unique experimental capabilities at INL.
FIDES-II members during a field trip to see the TREAT reactor being used in the HERA experiments
During the meeting, the project members were informed of the technical progress of each JEEP. Each JEEP involves some degree of first-of-a-kind experimental method. Members had the opportunity to report on the achievements made during the last few months and to scrutinise issues encountered as well as the proposed mitigating measures. The discussions demonstrated the value of in-person international expert community meetings to review and advise on an experimental framework as dynamic as FIDES-II.