The URANUM at UNIST is the only nuclear materials lab in Korean university, that handles uranium and thorium metals, alloys, and compounds. Thermophysical and metallurgical investigation of nuclear fuel and cladding materials is the centerpiece of our research. Experimental simulation of radiation-material interactions utilizing ion accelerators and research reactors is another unique feature of the URANUM. We mainly interrogate the performance and safety of nuclear fuel in core and other materials used under radiation, e.g., reactor internals, Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) cask, wide band gap semiconductors for disaster relief robots, and so on.
We also attempt to develop a novel innovative nuclear fuel performance code based on theoretical modeling of nuclear fuel behavior under extreme environment of reactor core, namely, 1) high temperature (up to 2000 °C), 2) excessive temperature gradient in non-metal fuels (~1000 °C/cm), 3) high pressure (7 ~ 15 MPa) in water reactors, 4) strong and complex radiation field, including fast neutrons (~2 MeV), gamma-rays, and tens-of-MeV-energetic fission fragments of various charge and mass.
These "hands-on training on nuclear fuel materials" and "thorough study on irradiation effects in materials" will promote the students and researchers in the URANUM lab to be world-class nuclear engineers and academics.
Above all, we aim high to suggest and demonstrate state-of-the-art nuclear fuel concepts and designs to all humanity around the globe, as our contribution to the world energy crisis, global warming, and fine dust pollution.