The second phase of the successful NEA joint project Thermodynamic Characterisation of Fuel Debris and Fission Products Based on Scenario Analysis of Severe Accident Progression (TCOFF-2) focuses on improving the quality and inventory of thermodynamic databases used for severe accident (SA) analyses. This has been an important area of joint research efforts for the international nuclear community since 2011 in order to expand the use of SA codes to accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs) and control rods (ATCRs).

The TCOFF-2 project is organised along four main scientific tasks and one task dedicated to education and training. The TCOFF-2 education and training activity was consolidated through a project formed under the auspices of the NEA’s Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) framework, entitled “Improving Cross-disciplinary and Transversal Skills for the Severe Accidents Community”, which was approved during the 8th NEST Management Board meeting on 27-28 November 2023. The main objectives of the TCOFF-2 NEST project are to strengthen training and knowledge transfer in the field of thermodynamics modelling applied to materials science and to ensure better control of the impact of thermodynamic information (data validation, propagation of uncertainties, sensitivity analysis) in severe accident codes. This project will provide training for current engineers and researchers in data handling and in the use of thermodynamic calculations dedicated to accidental scenarios. For younger people, it will enable them to take advantage of the current momentum in the nuclear sector and the ongoing renewal in the workforce. More broadly, this transfer of knowledge will also raise awareness throughout the scientific community of the lack of fundamental data in the field of severe accidents and their consequences.

The TCOFF-2 NEST project is organised along three axes:

  1. Student exchanges between TCOFF-2 participating organisations to provide hands-on training and knowledge from experienced researchers.
  2. Thematic schools, with the organisation of two schools.
  3. The definition of a curriculum on thermodynamic module for reactor safety that could be included in various MSc programmes.

The detailed implementation of these activities will be further discussed at the next TCOFF-2 in-person meeting, which will be hosted by GRS in Cologne, Germany, on 1-2 February 2024.

See also