Momentum building in the Framework for Irradiation Experiments

Connected continents

Recent meetings of groups working under the aegis of the Framework for Irradiation Experiments (FIDES) have demonstrated that the international community is enthusiastic and on a strong course to fulfil the programme’s ambitious vision. Following the recent closures of irradiation research facilities such as the Halden Reactor in Norway, FIDES is a multilateral effort established in 2021 to preserve and strengthen the global fuel and materials experimental capacity to the benefit of a broad community of users from around the world.

A hybrid meeting of over 40 modelling experts (approximately half in-person, half remote) explored how using archive data to exercise their codes can be used to assess their ability to predict fuel melting. Through this modelling exercise, a better understanding of the boundaries of existing models has been developed. The exercise also allowed participants to better appreciate specific experimental and examination needs that could improve the modelling of fuel melting behaviour. This “feedback loop” of experiments and simulations was one of the key ambitions of FIDES and this fuel melt prediction exercise was a concrete example of “closing a loop”: improving experimental design, programme planning and research outcomes through an international analysis of calculation results

A hybrid meeting of the FIDES Technical Advisory Group (TAG) held on 26-28 April gathered over 60 experts (approximately half in-person, half remote) to examine the status of the four Joint Experimental Programs (JEEPs) launched under the FIDES framework. It was clear from the active engagement in the meeting that members were energised by the luxury of in-person interactions. The discussions were dynamic and proceeded rather organically into brand new ideas. In particular, the value of two technical tasks forces emerged on very practical matters related to executing irradiation experiments. This too is bringing into reality one of the ambitious visions for FIDES. The request from FIDES members to form “task forces” demonstrates that FIDES is providing an effective platform to develop, share and retain expertise in irradiation testing hardware and experimental design.

While everyone who joined the meeting in-person in Paris appreciated the opportunity to be together in the same room, the FIDES TAG and GB members expressed their enthusiasm for deepening their understanding of the experimental capabilities mobilised by FIDES. Therefore, both the TAG and GB have chosen to begin convening future meetings at experimental facilities.

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