Most of the current nuclear fuel safety criteria were established during the 1960s and early 1970s. Although these criteria were validated against experiments with fuel designs available at that time, a number of tests were based on unirradiated fuels. Additional verification was performed as these designs evolved, but mostly with the aim of showing that the new designs adequately complied with existing criteria, and not to establish new limits.
In 1996, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) reviewed existing fuel safety criteria, focusing on new fuel and core designs, new cladding materials and industry manufacturing processes. The results were published in the Nuclear Fuel Safety Criteria Technical Review of 2001. The NEA has since re-examined the criteria. A brief description of each criterion and its rationale are presented in this second edition, which will be of interest to both regulators and industry (fuel vendors, utilities).