Nuclear Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex on March 11th 2011, there is an increased need for research into accident tolerant light water reactor fuels. In addition to the need for accident tolerant fuels testing there is a rising demand for clean renewable energy and the design of many generation IV reactors to fill the role which will require testing of such reactors and their fuels. Calculations and simulations are vital for the development and initial testing of these fuels, however ultimately experiments must be performed that push the fuels to the limits of their safety margins and beyond thus providing proof of concept. The Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) Facility is designed to perform transient testing to support a basic understanding of nuclear fuel behavior under such off-normal conditions (Idaho National Laboratory, 2009). The TREAT Facility was an air cooled, graphite moderated, thermal spectrum reactor designed to test fast reactor fuels in over power and under cooling scenarios. The TREAT facility operated for 35 years. During this time the test facility conducted thousands of transients and hundreds of tests for a wide variety of reactor development programs and fuel types, with a distinguished history of producing significant safety experiment results (Crawford et al., 1999). Return to operable condition and resumption of testing is currently under consideration by the Department of Energy. TREAT could provide a facility for testing of high-bumup LWR elements, CANDU reactor elements, and innovative fuel element designs for reactors of the future. (Crawford et al., 1998) Reliable computer modeling of the TREAT reactor can be used to assist in the design and setup of experiments performed by the TREAT reactor. If transients can be accurately simulated using computer models then these can be compared to the current techniques for calculating the necessary parameters such as the number of fuel assemblies, control rod height and time required to achieve the desired total energy deposition in a test material. This additional information may help to confirm the validity of the predicted parameters. Additionally computer models of TREAT may be used in an effort to design LEU fuel assemblies to replace the HEU fuel assemblies currently used in the TREAT core.



Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

De Oliveira, Cassiano

First Committee Member (Chair)

McDaniel, Patrick

Second Committee Member

Busch, Robert