Within each System Arrangement, R&D Projects have been set up to define work plans and deliverables.
An important milestone for the GIF was reached in March 2007 with the signature of the first Project Arrangement, regarding advanced fuel for the SFR system. Signed by the five partners to the SFR System Arrangement, the project agreement sets out a detailed plan for research and development activities in this area and details the schedule, funding and deliverables expected to achieve this. An updated version of the Project Arrangement is now under preparation to welcome new partners.
Two further Project Arrangements have been signed in 2007 covering: the Global Actinide Cycle International Demonstration (GACID) PA; and the Component Design and Balance-Of-Plant (CDBOP) PA. As of June 2009, the fourth Project Arrangement, the Safety and Operation (SO) PA has been signed. The CD&BOP project aims to develop key components and devices of the plant system and to investigate safe and effective power conversion concepts. The GACID project sets out to demonstrate at a significant scale that fast neutron reactors can manage the whole actinide inventory.
In the VHTR system, three PAs have been signed: the Fuel and Fuel Cycle (FFC) PA; the Hydrogen Production (HP) PA and the Material (MAT) PA. The Fuel & Fuel Cycle project works on TRISO coated particles, which are the basic fuel concept for the VHTR, need to be qualified for relevant service conditions. R&D will increase the understanding of standard design UO2 kernel with SiC/PyC coating and examine the use of UCO kernels and ZrC coatings for enhanced burn-up capability, reduced fission product permeation and increased resistance to core heat-up accidents (above 1600°C). The HP project will consider two main processes: the sulfur/iodine thermo-chemical cycle and the high-temperature electrolysis process. R&D will address feasibility, optimization, efficiency and economics evaluation for small and large scale hydrogen production.
Regarding the SCWR system, the Project Arrangement on Thermal-hydraulics and Safety was signed by Canada, Euratom, and Japan in 2009. Significant gaps exist in the heat transfer and critical flow databases for the SCWR. Data at prototypical SCWR conditions are needed. The design-basis accidents for a SCWR have some similarities with conventional water reactors, but the difference in thermal-hydraulic behaviour and large changes in fluid properties around the critical point compared to water at lower temperatures and pressures need to be better understood. The Materials and Chemistry Project Arrangement was signed a year later by the same partners.
The table below summarises the status of the current Project Arrangements.
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