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Characterization of Fast Reactor Metallic fuel for Minor Actinides Transmutation

Fully sustainable nuclear energy and the reduction of the long-term radiotoxicity of high level waste can be achieved using closed fuel cycle and employing advanced nuclear reactors. Spent fuel reprocessing and the subsequent recycling of U and Pu as fuel and transmutation of Minor Actinides (MA) Np, Am, Cm in fast reactors are necessary steps to achieve this goal. Among the different kinds of nuclear fuel, metallic nuclear fuel is considered world wide a good candidate to achieve these objectives thanks to some unique advantages: high thermal conductivity, high density, benign response to transient events and compatibility with liquid sodium metal. In this context the METAPHIX programme, a collaboration between the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI, Japan) and the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU, a Joint Research Centre of the European Commission) with the support of the Commissariat à l´Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA, France), is devoted to study the safety and effectiveness of a closed nuclear fuel cycle based on MA separation and irradiation in metallic fuel using fast reactor.