The NEA Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) supports the fuel and material experimental needs of nuclear safety regulators, technical support organisations, research institutions and industry and safeguards experimental knowledge for future generations. FIDES connects a global network of research facilities to perform high-priority experiments through Joint ExpErimental Programmes (JEEPs).
Four Joint ExpErimental Programmes (JEEPs) are included in the 2021 – 2024 FIDES programme of work, which cover a wide range of research needs:
The safe, reliable and efficient operation of nuclear power plants requires nuclear fuel and materials (F&M) technology to evolve and for their performances to be optimised. Achieving this requires solid experimental evidence, which can only be obtained from test facilities with the ability to perform neutron irradiation under representative steady state or transient conditions. F&M test facilities are essential for:
However, the number of available test facilities around the world are in significant decline. In the past five years, several major research reactors that provided testing services for the nuclear community were shut down after over fifty years of service. These included the Halden reactor in Norway, the OSIRIS in France, the JMTR in Japan, the NRU in Canada, among others.
Regulators and their technical support organisations, research organisations, and the industry all require F&M testing capacities on an ongoing basis. Some recent experience of test facilities attempting to re-establish prior capabilities has shown that the process can be extremely costly and time-consuming, further emphasising the importance of preserving experimental know-how through on-going research activity. In particular, the know-how and availability of test facilities for loss-of-coolant accidents, reactivity-initiated accidents and power ramps, is crucial.
FIDES is a project that truly arose from the needs of the community. As early as 2018, the international community had identified an emerging need to strengthen the network of international research facilities capable of meeting the unique and challenging needs for nuclear fuel and material development. The permanent closure of the Halden Reactor in Norway in June 2018, a key research facility in the area of nuclear fuel and materials research, brought new urgency to the conversation. A series of meetings with international experts and decision makers was organised to discuss the needs and define a solution. It was through these meetings that the FIDES framework emerged.
Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, European Commission (EC)
Member contributions to FIDES fees: €12 Million
Work scope value: Approximately €24 Million