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The Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) provides transient testing of nuclear fuels and materials. The facility is used to study fuel melting behavior, interactions between fuel and coolant, and the potential for propagation of failure to adjacent fuel pins under conditions ranging from mild upsets to severe accidents.
TREAT is an air-cooled, thermal-spectrum test facility specifically designed to evaluate the response of reactor fuels and structural materials to accident conditions. The reactor was originally constructed to test fast-reactor fuels, but its flexible design has also enabled its use for testing of light-water-reactor fuels as well as other exotic special-purpose fuels, such as space reactors. TREAT has an open-core design that allows for ease of experiment instrumentation and real-time imaging of fuel motion during irradiation, which also makes TREAT an ideal platform for understanding the irradiation response of materials and fuels on a fundamental level.
TREAT was placed on standby in 1994. Operations were resumed in 2018. TREAT will provides a valuable capability to support efforts to develop accident-tolerant fuels for light-water reactors as well as the advanced reactor fuels, both of which will allow nuclear power to remain the primary source of emission-free baseload energy in the future.