NE Seminar: “Fuel Fragmentation, Relocation and Dispersal Research at NRC”


1:55 pm-2:55 pm
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Rhines Hall Room 125
549 Gale Lemerand Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


James Corson, Ph.D.

Senior Reactor Systems Engineer
U.S. Regulatory Commission

Dr. James Corson is a Senior Reactor Systems Engineer in the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission where he has worked for the past 12 years. Dr. Corson specializes in the behavior of nuclear fuel during normal operations, anticipated operational occurrences, and design basis accidents, both for operating light water reactors and for advanced non-LWR designs. He serves as the NRC technical lead for the Fuel Analysis under Steady-state and Transients (FAST) fuel performance code, and he is an active participant in several domestic and international research projects related to nuclear fuel behavior.

Dr. Corson holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in nuclear engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and Texas A&M University, respectively, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Extensive research has been conducted on fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal (FFRD) during a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) in a nuclear light water reactor.

This research has shown that FFRD phenomena are correlated with burnup. As the U.S. nuclear industry pursues the operation of plants with higher fuel burnup levels, it is important to understand and account for FFRD-related phenomena and their impact on regulatory figures of merit (e.g., peak cladding temperature) in licensing applications. Recently, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES) published a research information letter to communicate staff’s interpretation of findings from experimental programs on FFRD and to define conservative, empirical boundaries for FFRD-related phenomena.

This seminar will include a discussion of this research information letter, including the thresholds at which fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal have been observed experimentally. It will also describe ongoing research in this area at NRC.


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Department of Materials Science & Engineering