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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2014, Article ID 254913, 14 pages
Research Article

Study and Evaluation of Innovative Fuel Handling Systems for Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors: Fuel Handling Route Optimization

Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternative (CEA), Centre de Cadarache, 13108 Saint Paul-Lez-Durance, France

Received 19 June 2013; Accepted 3 December 2013; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editor: Gianfranco Caruso

Copyright © 2014 Franck Dechelette et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The research for technological improvement and innovation in sodium-cooled fast reactor is a matter of concern in fuel handling systems in a view to perform a better load factor of the reactor thanks to a quicker fuelling/defueling process. An optimized fuel handling route will also limit its investment cost. In that field, CEA has engaged some innovation study either of complete FHR or on the optimization of some specific components. This paper presents the study of three SFR fuel handling route fully described and compared to a reference FHR option. In those three FHR, two use a gas corridor to transfer spent and fresh fuel assembly and the third uses two casks with a sodium pot to evacuate and load an assembly in parallel. All of them are designed for the ASTRID reactor (1500 MWth) but can be extrapolated to power reactors and are compatible with the mutualisation of one FHS coupled with two reactors. These three concepts are then intercompared and evaluated with the reference FHR according to four criteria: performances, risk assessment, investment cost, and qualification time. This analysis reveals that the “mixed way” FHR presents interesting solutions mainly in terms of design simplicity and time reduction. Therefore its study will be pursued for ASTRID as an alternative option.