Among others, three large irradiation tests on inert matrix fuels have been performed during the last five years: the two irradiation tests IFA-651 and IFA-652 in the OECD Halden Material Test Reactor and the OTTO irradiation in the High Flux Reactor in Petten. While the OTTO irradiation is already completed, the other two irradiations are still ongoing. The objectives of the experiments differ: for OTTO, the focus was on the comparison of different concepts of IMF, i.e. homogeneous fuel versus different types of heterogeneous fuel. In IFA-651, single phase yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) doped with Pu is compared with MOX. In IFA-652, the potential of calcia stabilized zirconia (CSZ) as a matrix with and without thoria is evaluated. The design of the three experiments is explained and the current status is reviewed. The experiments show that the homogeneous, single phase YSZ-based or CSZ-based fuel show good and stable irradiation behaviour. It can be said that homogeneous stabilized zirconia based fuel is the most promising IMF concept for an LWR environment. Nevertheless, the fuel temperatures were relatively high due to the low thermal conductivity, potentially leading to high fission gas release, and must be taken into account in the fuel design.
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