One of the biggest challenges for European research reactors is securing their nuclear fuel supply to ensure a sustainment
of medical isotopes for Europe and the world. This is particularly true for the few operating High Performance Research
Reactors (HPRRs) in Europe, which produce the vast majority of medical isotopes. The obligation to convert them from high
to low enriched uranium (LEU) nuclear fuels while keeping similar radioisotopes production ratios makes it necessary to
develop higher uranium density fuels. The R&D related to that topic was started in previous EURATOM projects
(HERACLES-CP and LEU-FOREvER). The main goal of the EU-QUALIFY project is to qualify such fuels and qualify the
capability to fabricate such fuels. This will done by a multi-disciplinary consortium composed of fuel designers/manufactures,
reactor operators, research organizations and a university, namely: SCK•CEN, CEA, CERCA, ILL, TUM, and G-INP.
The EU-QUALIFY project will build on previous LEU fuel development work with specific focus on the qualification of three
particular types of fuels: the dispersed UMo
, the monolithic U-Mo and the high-loaded dispersed U3Si2 fuels. This
qualification will be accomplished through fabrication and concurrent qualification of pilot manufacturing equipment and
processes, irradiation under representative irradiation conditions, post-irradiation examinations, as well as modeling of the
in-pile behavior to support LEU conversion safety analyses.
This project will contribute to ensuring the availability of HPPR’s, and thus enhance the security of the EU’s capacity in the
production of medical radioisotopes. It will thus contribute to health care through provision of innovative medical
radioisotopes necessary for diagnostic and therapy and will support European industry by maintaining access to research
reactor irradiation capabilities.
This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training program 2014-2018 under grant agreement No 945009