Project Info

Development of Additively Manufactured Nuclear Reactor Fuel

Jeffrey King
kingjc@mines.edu

Project Goals and Description:

Additively Manufactured (3-D printed) nuclear reactor could offer significant benefits to current and future nuclear reactors. We are currently looking at using a laser to selectively cure a UV-sensitive resin containing ceramic fuel particles. After printing and curing, the resin binder will be removed using a kiln and the resulting green ceramic will be sintered to produce a final fuel pellet. Potential benefits from this method of manufacturing include a reduction in radioactive waste, less worker exposure to radioactive material, and the possibility of unique and innovative fuel shapes that are not possible using traditional manufacturing methods.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.
We have not yet reached the point of publishing papers on this project. https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/conversion-enrichment-and-fabrication/fuel-fabrication.aspx provides a good overview of nuclear fuels.

Primary Contacts:

Dr. King (kingjc@mines.edu)

Student Preparation

Qualifications

Basic familiarity working in a lab setting. Experience with 3D printing technologies (especially DLP or SLA resin printers, aka vat polymerization) is a plus. Familiarity with CAD/design software will be helpful. Student is required to attend the basic lab safety training offered by Environmental Health and Safety at Mines.

TIME COMMITMENT (HRS/WK)

4-5 hours/week

SKILLS/TECHNIQUES GAINED

Familiarity with nuclear fuel production techniques. In depth knowledge of the vat polymerization and the operation of resin-style printing techniques.

MENTORING PLAN

The student will join the King Research Group and will interact with Dr. King and the other students in Group on a weekly basis.

PREFERRED STUDENT STATUS

Senior
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