Assessment of three European fuel performance codes against the SUPERFACT-1 fast reactor irradiation experiment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Lelio Luzzi
  • Tommaso Barani
  • Brian Boer
  • L. Cognini
  • Alessandro Del Nevo
  • Marc Lainet
  • Sergei Lemehov
  • Arianna Magni
  • Vincent Marelle
  • B. Michel
  • Davide Pizzocri
  • A. Schubert
  • Paul Van Uffelen
  • Marjorie Bertolus
  • POLIMI - Politecnico di Milano
  • CEA DEC/SESC - Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
  • EC - JRC - European Commission - Joint Research Centre
  • ENEA - Italian National Agency for New Technologies
  • CEA Cadarache - Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique

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The design phase and safety assessment of Generation IV liquid metal-cooled fast reactors calls for the improvement of fuel pin performance codes, in particular the enhancement of their predictive capabilities towards uranium-plutonium mixed oxide fuels and stainless-steel cladding under irradiation in fast reactor environments. To this end, the current capabilities of fuel performance codes must be critically assessed against experimental data from available irradiation experiments. This work is devoted to the assessment of three European fuel performance codes, namely GERMINAL, MACROS and TRANSURANUS, against the irradiation of two fuel pins selected from the SUPERFACT-1 experimental campaign. The pins are characterized by a low enrichment (~2 wt%) of minor actinides (neptunium and americium) in the fuel, and by plutonium content and cladding material in line with design choices envisaged for liquid metal-cooled Generation IV reactor fuels. The predictions of the codes are compared to several experimental measurements, allowing the identification of the current code capabilities in predicting fuel restructuring, cladding deformation and redistribution of actinides and volatile fission products. The integral assessment against experimental data is complemented by a code-to-code benchmark focused on the evolution of quantities of engineering interest over time. The benchmark analysis points out the differences in the code predictions of fuel central temperature, fuel-cladding gap width, cladding outer radius, pin internal pressure and fission gas release and suggests potential modelling development paths towards an improved description of the fuel pin behaviour in fast reactor irradiation conditions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3367-3378
JournalNuclear Engineering and Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2021


  • SUPERFACT-1 irradiation experiment, Fuel performance, GERMINAL, MACROS, TRANSURANUS, MOX fuel, Assessment and benchmark

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