Oslo, Norway, April 8th, 2015. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) has signed an agreement to join the international consortium led by Thor Energy which is undertaking a sophisticated test-irradiation campaign in order to develop and qualify additive fuels for improved safety and operational performance in nuclear reactors. Central in the cooperation is to have test fuel specimens loaded and irradiated in the OECD Halden test reactor operated by the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Norway.
South Korea has emerged as a major nuclear energy country in the world, exporting technology and with nuclear providing one third of the nation’s electricity. Nuclear energy remains a strategic priority for S. Korea and considerable new capacity is planned by 2035. KAERI is dedicating much to the development of fuel cycle technologies and on future nuclear energy systems that feature significant advancements in safety, economics, and proliferation resistance.

– We are excited to welcome KAERI as a member of our consortium, said Øystein Asphjell, CEO of Thor Energy. – The institute will bring valuable competence, insight, and new ideas to our cooperation that will benefit all consortium members and the nuclear industry as such. This cooperation will enhance the validation program of Thor Energy’s LWR fuel solutions that we believe can be commercialized in a few years, Mr. Asphjell said.
Thor Energy leads an international consortium that is jointly manufacturing and irradiating advanced LWR fuels in order to prove the commercial viability of how additive fuel materials behave during long periods in a reactor core in various conditions. A specially designed fuel rig holds six instrumented test rods containing three different thorium based fuel mixtures has already been irradiated for almost two years. A second rig with 12 additional test rods will be loaded later this year. The Halden test reactor allows for continuous data collection while the fuel operates in simulated LWR conditions.

– KAERI is satisfied to join the international consortium in order to be able to reliably test our own LWR fuel technology especially aimed at enhancing accident tolerance in a top-class research reactor, and we are also keen to share the data and experience gained from the irradiation work being carried out on the other advanced fuel ceramics, said Dr. Kun Woo Song, a vice president of KAERI.

In addition to Thor Energy and IFE, KAERI will join Westinghouse, Fortum (Finland), the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, and Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) as consortium partners.
For more, see: www.thorenergy.no and www.kaeri.re.kr/english/

Contacts at KAERI
Yang Hyun Koo, Director, LWR Fuel Technology Division, tel. +82 42 868 8728, yhkoo@kaeri.re.kr
Kun Woo Song, V.P., Nuclear Fuel Department, tel. +82 42 868 2579, kwsong@kaeri.re.kr