Wired Magazine dives deep on TRISO pebble fuel, which consists of particles of an alien-looking fuel with built-in safety features that will safely power a new generation of high-temperature reactors.
Most nuclear reactors today operate well below 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and even the next generation high-temperature reactors will top out at about 2,000 degrees. But during INL tests, researchers demonstrated that triso fuel pellets could withstand reactor temperatures over 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Out of 300,000 particles, not a single triso coating failed during the two-week long test. Thus, with new reactor designs, where it’s physically impossible to exceed these temperatures because the reactor automatically shuts down as it reaches these high temperatures, when you take these reactor designs and combine them with a fuel that can handle the heat, you essentially have an accident-proof reactor.
Read more about TRISO fuel at WIRED Magazine: Nuclear ‘Power Balls’ May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past.