NEA Mandates and Structures

Working Party on Materials Science Issues in Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials (WPFM)

Chair(s): Theodore M. BESMANN, United States
Secretary:  Ian HILL
Member(s):All NEA member countries*
Russia (Suspended*)
*Russian Federation suspended pursuant to a decision of the OECD Council.
Full participant(s): European Commission
Under the NEA Statute
Observer(s)(International Organisation): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
By agreement
Date of creation:15 August 2021
End of mandate:31 December 2023

Mandate (Document reference):

  • Report of the Nuclear Science Committee Bureau, Results of Prioritisation of the Nuclear Science Committee Activities. Programme of Work 2021-2022 [NEA/SEN/NSC(2020)4]
  • The Proposal for Restructuring of the NSC Working Party on Multi-scale Modelling of Fuels and Structural Materials for Nuclear Systems (WPMM), 17 September 2020, [NEA/NSC/WPMM/DOC(2020)2]
  • Summary Record of the 31st Nuclear Science Committee Meeting, held on 23-25 September 2020 [NEA/SEN/NSC(2020)20]
  • Mandate of the Working Party on Materials Science Issues in Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials (WPFM) [NEA/SEN/NSC(2021)2]

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract from document NEA/SEN/NSC(2021)2



As a result of the prioritisation effort, a reform of NSC activities was performed under the guidance of the NSC Bureau. This has resulted in the consolidation of some fuel materials and structural materials related activities into the Working Party on Materials Science Issues in Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials (WPFM) created on the basis of the former Working Party on Multi-scale Modelling of Fuels and Structural Materials for Nuclear Systems (WPMM).


Under the guidance of the Nuclear Science Committee, the WPFM, established for a three-year duration, will address materials science aspects of nuclear fuel, cladding and structural materials, including supporting development and selection of innovative and advanced materials solutions. The WPFM will aim at the development/evaluation of experimental methods and data assessment and preservation, together with the advancement of multi-scale modelling and simulation, with a focus on their mutual support to progress validated predictive methodologies for assessment and/or design purposes.


To develop and maintain international cooperation between member countries on scientific and engineering subjects such as:

  • Multi-scale modelling and simulation of fuel and structural materials for nuclear systems to investigate their response to extreme operating conditions, especially irradiation. Support the development and implementation of advanced computational techniques for scale bridging and model integration spanning from physics-based computation to data driven modelling.
  • Verification and validation of simulations and model predictions through uncertainty analysis, evaluation of approximations, benchmarking of material behaviour simulation tools, and comparison with analytical solutions as well as experimental data.
  • Identification of new applied mathematics and software tool developments, particularly those of common interest for fuel and structural materials.
  • Enhance the exploitation of systematic nuclear materials experimental characterisation through the establishment of protocols of execution, data collection and data analysis.
  • Identification of fundamental problems encountered in the development of fuels and structural materials that are amenable to analysis by both modelling/simulation and experiment to reduce the time and resources needed to bring new concepts to deployment.
  • Modelling and simulation in support of the Fuel and structural materials qualification experiments performed within the FIDES framework.
  • Accelerate nuclear materials design by conducting joint and comparative studies to support the development, selection and characterisation of innovative fuel and structural materials (new compositions and designs supported by numerical design, novel elaboration pathways and others).
  • Assess current status and future needs for qualification of fuel and structural materials.

To foster collaboration between experimental and computational fuel and structural materials experts at different scales by promoting joint activities at the international level.

Working Methods

To carry out its objectives, the WPFM will provide a framework for joint undertakings to further develop issues under its scope, such as:

  • Create opportunities for exchange of information between material scientists, materials manufacturers, designers (of reactor core, fuel cycle infrastructure, etc.) and utilities through the organisation of meetings (workshops, conferences, webinars). The objective being to create the conditions to tackle the nuclear materials challenges through a holistic approach that would integrate materials development, prototyping, fabrication, qualification, licensing and deployment into a consistent perspective. Organise, as relevant, opportunities for exchanges with non-nuclear materials development experts to share potentially common practices and approaches.
  • Establish tasks forces involving leading technical experts to address issues including links between modelling and validation in materials, best practices definition in the area of the nuclear material microstructural characterisation and microstructural evolution modelling and simulation, relationship of microstructure to material properties, and review of options for replacement of empirical correlations with mechanistic models in fuel performance codes.
  • Publish reports and journal articles stemming from the WPFM activities.
  • The activities will cover the following topic areas:
    • Cross-cutting issues (data preservation and management, advanced modelling methods and experimental methods, technology monitoring);
    • Fuel materials: Experiment and Modelling;
    • Structural Materials: Experiment and Modelling.
  • The WPFM will report progress at the annual meeting of the Nuclear Science Committee.


The WPFM will communicate closely with other NSC subsidiary bodies, including the Expert Group on Reactor Fuel Performance (WPRS-EGRFP)  and its Database for International Fuel Performance Experiments (DATIF) project – in order to ensure the complementarity of their respective programmes of work and to provide advice and support, where required, and undertake common activities, where appropriate.

For information exchange and mutual support through sharing of expertise and reciprocal advice, the WPFM will liaise with materials science-related NEA joint undertakings such as the Thermodynamics of Advanced Fuels – International Database (TAF-ID), the Thermodynamic Characterisation of Fuel Debris and Fission Products Based on Scenario Analysis of Severe Accident Progression at Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (TCOFF) and the Accident Tolerant Fuel cladding bundle testing at QUENCH facility in KIT, Germany (QUENCH-ATF).

The WPFM will exchange information with the Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) and support its activities (especially on modelling & simulation of fuel and material behaviour under irradiation) as relevant and in compliance with the data dissemination policy. The efforts will involve providing advice on the prioritisation of the data needs for the parameterisation and validation of nuclear materials modelling and simulation tools, and expertise on the analysis and interpretation of the experimental data related to the post irradiation examination studies.

The WPFM will liaise closely with other relevant NEA bodies to ensure the respective programmes of work are complementary, to provide advice and support where required and undertake common work where appropriate. In particular, relationships will be established with the activities operating under the guidance of Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI), including the Working Group on Integrity and Ageing of Components and Structures (WGIAGE) and the Studsvik Material Integrity Life Extension (SMILE) joint project. The WPFM will liaise with the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) through the development of its new activities in the domain of the application of materials as a factor of optimisation of radioactive waste management programmes. 

The WPFM will collaborate with industry representatives, as relevant, and international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Commission (EC) and the Generation IV International Forum (GIF).


The WPFM will engage in the following activities:

  • Fuels: Experiment and Modelling:
  • Activity on materials database with a first step using the collection of data on claddings provided by EGISM members to the EG on innovative fuels (on going);
  • Micromechanical behaviour and its impact on fuel multi-physics modelling at the macroscopic scale;
  • Transient and High-Burnup Fission Gas Behaviour Phenomena in LWR Oxide Fuels.
  • Structural Materials: Experiment and Modelling:
  • Publication on innovative structural materials solutions including advanced manufacturing processes for nuclear application;
  • Workshop on high entropy alloys gathering both experimental (manufacturing, characterisation) and modelling and simulation communities (to be organised in 2021);
  • Support the European Database for Multiscale Modelling of Radiation Damage (ENTENTE) programme in the data models development through establishing frameworks for discussions between the ENTENTE participants and other international research organisations to share experiences, best practices and pursue international consensus on data curation and preservation strategies;
  • Organize the Structural Materials for Innovative Nuclear Systems (SMINS) workshop.
  • Cross-cutting issues (Data management, modelling methods and experimental methods):
  • Protocols, standards and best practices in characterisation of nuclear materials;
  • Experimental and modelling methods for characterising radiation defects in nuclear materials.
  • Support on modelling and simulation to optimize the experiments performed in the FIDES framework.
  • The WPFM will establish the technical programme of work of other tasks forces as required.
  • Reports on priorities for collaborative research to be carried out within the framework of the WPFM.