Technical advances enabling burn-up to be increased
A number of technical advances are enabling the degree of irradiation of nuclear fuel to be increased. The zirconium alloys used in fuel cladding (measurements shown in red) oxidise in the presence of water. This phenomenon is greatly exacerbated at burn-up rates exceeding 50 GWd/t, limiting the fuel's residence time and the reactor's energy performance. Improved cladding alloys (measurements shown in blue) can be used to considerably reduce the thickness of the oxide (i.e. corrosion) layer and achieve higher burn-up values.