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Fuel Cycle

Research Reactor Fuel Cycle       

The fuel cycle of research reactors is similar to that of most power reactors, including all steps from fuel fabrication to spent fuel management. The IAEA assists Member States in all phases of this cycle and, upon request, helps them convert their research reactors from high- to low-enriched uranium. Through the Department of Technical Cooperation, we have supported fuel procurement, evaluation for reactor modification, hot cell refurbishment and fellowships for the study of the research reactor fuel cycle.

For more than three decades, we have worked with states and NGOs to return high-enriched uranium fuel to the country of origin, develop and qualify low-enriched fuels and prepare research reactors for conversion. Approximately 80 civilian research reactors have been converted and 34 countries no longer possess any high-enriched uranium. Return programmes fall under three categories:

US-Origin Return Programme - Started in 1996, more than 60 shipments from 30 countries

Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return Programme - Started in 2002, more than 66 shipments from 15 countries

Chinese-Origin HEU MNSR Return Programme - Started in 2014, HEU fuel from the Miniature Neutron Source Reactors in Ghana and Nigeria have been returned

RRIH_FC2.pngWe also support the production of radioisotopes from low-enriched uranium targets. Thanks to cooperation with the OECD and various stakeholders, the majority of the world's Mo-99, the single most important radioisotope for medical diagnostic procedures, is based on low-enriched uranium.



  
  
Description
  
  
  
  
Benchmarking against Experimental Data of Neutronics and Thermohydraulic Computational Methods and Tools for Operation and Safety Analysis of Research Reactorshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TECDOC%201879.png
IAEA TECDOC No. 1879
2019
https://www.iaea.org/publications/13547/benchmarking-against-experimental-data-of-neutronics-and-thermohydraulic-computational-methods-and-tools-for-operation-and-safety-analysis-of-research-reactorsNew tab
Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants, Research Reactors and Other Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilitieshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Decom%20Power%20plants.png
IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-47
2018
https://www.iaea.org/publications/12210/decommissioning-of-nuclear-power-plants-research-reactors-and-other-nuclear-fuel-cycle-facilitiesNew tab
Analyses Supporting Conversion of Research Reactors from High Enriched Uranium Fuel to Low Enriched Uranium Fuelhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Conversion%20RR.png
IAEA-TECDOC-1844  978-92-0-101818-2
2018
https://www.iaea.org/publications/11064/analyses-supporting-conversion-of-research-reactors-from-high-enriched-uranium-fuel-to-low-enriched-uranium-fuelNew tab
Analyses Supporting Conversion of Research Reactors from High Enriched Uranium Fuel to Low Enriched Uranium Fuelhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TECDOC%201844.png
IAEA TECDOC No. 1844
2018
https://www.iaea.org/publications/11064/analyses-supporting-conversion-of-research-reactors-from-high-enriched-uranium-fuel-to-low-enriched-uranium-fuelNew tab
Available Reprocessing and Recycling Services for Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuelhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NWt-1.11%20reprocessing%20and%20recycling.png
STI/PUB/1746  978-92-0-103216-4
2017
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10997/available-reprocessing-and-recycling-services-for-research-reactor-spent-nuclear-fuelNew tab
Research Reactors for the Development of Materials and Fuels for Innovative Nuclear Energy Systemshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NES%20T.5.8.png
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-5.8
2017
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10984/research-reactors-for-the-development-of-materials-and-fuels-for-innovative-nuclear-energy-systemsNew tab
Use of Low Enriched Uranium Fuel in Accelerator Driven Subcritical Systemshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TECDOC1821.jpg
IAEA TECDOC No. 1821
2017
https://www.iaea.org/publications/12224/use-of-low-enriched-uranium-fuel-in-accelerator-driven-subcritical-systemsNew tab
Data Analysis and Collection for Costing of Research Reactor Decommissioning DACCORDhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TECDOC%201832.png
IAEA TECDOC No. 1832
2017
https://www.iaea.org/publications/12252/data-analysis-and-collection-for-costing-of-research-reactor-decommissioningNew tab
History, Development and Future of TRIGA Research Reactorshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TRIGA482.png
Technical Reports Series No. 482
2016
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10943/history-development-and-future-of-triga-research-reactorsNew tab
Safety of Research Reactorshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/SSR%203.png
IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSR-3
2016
https://www.iaea.org/publications/11031/safety-of-research-reactorsNew tab
Feasibility of Producing Molybdenum-99 on a Small Scale Using Fission of Low Enriched Uranium or Neutron Activation of Natural Molybdenumhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TRS%20478.jpg
Technical Reports Series No. 478
2015
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10599/feasibility-of-producing-molybdenum-99-on-a-small-scale-using-fission-of-low-enriched-uranium-or-neutron-activation-of-natural-molybdenumNew tab
Research Reactor Benchmarking Database: Facility Specification and Experimental Datahttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TRS%20480.gif
Technical Reports Series No. 480
2015
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10578/research-reactor-benchmarking-database-facility-specification-and-experimental-dataNew tab
Cost Estimation for Research Reactor Decommissioninghttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NES%20T.2.4.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NW-T-2.4
2014
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10381/cost-estimation-for-research-reactor-decommissioningIn page navigation
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Objectiveshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Nuclear%20Objectives.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NF-O
2013
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10512/nuclear-fuel-cycle-objectivesNew tab
Non-HEU Production Technologies for Molybdenum-99 and Technetium-99mhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NES%20T.5.4.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NF-T-5.4
2013
https://www.iaea.org/publications/10386/non-heu-production-technologies-for-molybdenum-99-and-technetium-99mNew tab
Management and Storage of Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuelhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Mgmt%20Spent%20Fuel.jpg
Proceedings Series - IAEA
2013
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8853/management-and-storage-of-research-reactor-spent-nuclear-fuelNew tab
Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuelhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Storage%20spentfuel.png
IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-15
2012
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8532/storage-of-spent-nuclear-fuelNew tab
Good Practices for Water Quality Management in Research Reactors and Spent Fuel Storage Facilitieshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Good%20Practices%20for%20water.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-5.2
2011
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8539/good-practices-for-water-quality-management-in-research-reactors-and-spent-fuel-storage-facilitiesNew tab
  
  
Description
  
  
  
  
Cost Aspects of the Research Reactor Fuel Cyclehttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NES%20t.4.3.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-T-4.3
2010
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8396/cost-aspects-of-the-research-reactor-fuel-cycleNew tab
Corrosion of Research Reactor Aluminium Clad Spent Fuel in Waterhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Tecdoc%201637.jpg
 IAEA TECDOC No. 1637
2010
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8204/corrosion-of-research-reactor-aluminium-clad-spent-fuel-in-waterNew tab
Experience of Shipping Russian-origin Research Reactor Spent Fuel to the Russian Federationhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Tecdoc1632.jpg
IAEA TECDOC No. 1632
2009
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8244/experience-of-shipping-russian-origin-research-reactor-spent-fuel-to-the-russian-federationNew tab
Good Practices for Qualification of High Density Low Enriched Uranium Research Reactor Fuelshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/NEW%20T.5.2%20Good%20Practices%20Fuel.jpg
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NF-T-5.2
2009
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8080/good-practices-for-qualification-of-high-density-low-enriched-uranium-research-reactor-fuelsNew tab
Return of Research Reactor Spent Fuel to the Country of Origin: Requirements for Technical and Administrative Preparations and National Experienceshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TECDOC1593.jpg
IAEA TECDOC (CD-ROM) No. 1593
2009
https://www.iaea.org/publications/8091/return-of-research-reactor-spent-fuel-to-the-country-of-origin-requirements-for-technical-and-administrative-preparations-and-national-experiencesNew tab
Core Management and Fuel Handling for Research Reactorshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Core%20mgmt.jpg
IAEA Safety Standards Series No. NS-G-4.3
2008
https://www.iaea.org/publications/7803/core-management-and-fuel-handling-for-research-reactorsNew tab
Decommissioning of Research Reactors and Other Small Facilities by Making Optimal Use of Available Resourceshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TRS463.jpg
Technical Reports Series No. 463
2008
https://www.iaea.org/publications/7813/decommissioning-of-research-reactors-and-other-small-facilities-by-making-optimal-use-of-available-resourcesNew tab
Decommissioning of Research Reactors: Evolution, State of the Art, Open Issueshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/TRS%20446%20Decom.jpg
Technical Reports Series No. 446
2006
https://www.iaea.org/publications/7333/decommissioning-of-research-reactors-evolution-state-of-the-art-open-issuesNew tab
Spent Fuel Management Options for Research Reactors in Latin Americahttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/FuelLatin.jpg
IAEA TECDOC No. 1508
2006
https://www.iaea.org/publications/7500/spent-fuel-management-options-for-research-reactors-in-latin-americaNew tab
Technical, Economic and Institutional Aspects of Regional Spent Fuel Storage Facilitieshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Technical%20aspects%20-Spent.jpg
IAEA TECDOC (CD-ROM) No. 1482
2005
https://www.iaea.org/publications/7442/technical-economic-and-institutional-aspects-of-regional-spent-fuel-storage-facilitiesNew tab
Development Status of Metallic, Dispersion and Non-oxide Advanced and Alternative Fuels for Power and Research Reactorshttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Mettalic%20for%20power%20rr.jpg
IAEA TECDOC No. 1374
2003
https://www.iaea.org/publications/6815/development-status-of-metallic-dispersion-and-non-oxide-advanced-and-alternative-fuels-for-power-and-research-reactorsNew tab
Corrosion of Research Reactor Aluminium Clad Spent Fuel in Waterhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/69%20Publications/Corrision%20Clad.jpg
Technical Reports Series No. 418
2003
https://www.iaea.org/publications/6589/corrosion-of-research-reactor-aluminium-clad-spent-fuel-in-waterNew tab

Upcoming Events

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Bride Toolhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/BRIDEv1.jpg
Back end Research reactor Integrated Decision-making Evaluation
https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/Bride%20Tools/Forms/AllItems.aspxDialog
Ferrex toolhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Ferrex.jpg
Fuel Cycle Cost Estimation for Research Reactors in Excel
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Intl Network on Spent Fuel Managementhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Related%20Networks/SFM-150px.png
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Nuclear Fuel Engineering Networkhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Related%20Networks/NFE_.jpg
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LABONEThttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Related%20Networks/LAB-150px.png
Intl. Network of Laboratories for Nuclear Waste Characterization
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Intl. Predisposal Networkhttps://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Related%20Networks/IPN-150px.png
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International Decommissioning Network https://nucleus.iaea.org/sites/connect/RRIHpublic/PublishingImages/Pages/Fuel-Cycle/Related%20Networks/IDN-150px.png
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