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Second task of the BGU part of “Dissolution, Reactor, and Environmental Behavior of ZrO2-MgO Inert Fuel Matrix” project aims at evaluation of the fertile free fuel matrix composition effect on the fuel reactivity and corresponding reactivity limited burnup. Fertile free fuel with different MgO to ZrO2 ratio in the matrix will require different PuO2 loading in order to assure certain fuel cycle length. This is due to the fact that absorption cross section of Zr is slightly higher than that of Mg, although absorption in both of these elements is small compared to Pu. Therefore, the resulting effect on criticality is marginal as pointed out in the Progress Report on Task 1 of the current project [1].

This progress report summarizes results of the calculations performed on Task 2 of the BGU program. The scope of current task includes two objectives:

- Determination of Pu loading necessary to achieve industry standard fuel cycle lengths of 12, 18, and 24 calendar months using the reference fuel matrix composition with 1:1 volume ratio of MgO and ZrO2 components.

- Quantitative evaluation of the matrix composition effect on Pu loading required to maintain mentioned reference fuel cycle lengths.


Magnesium oxide; Mixed oxide fuels (Nuclear engineering); Nuclear chemistry; Nuclear fuel elements; Nuclear fuels; Nuclear reactors – Reactivity; Plutonium; Solid oxide fuel cells; Zirconium oxide


Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Radiochemistry