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June 16 2014

Nuclear industry explores accident-resistant fuel


The explosions that damaged a crippled Japanese nuclear plant during a disaster that forced mass evacuations in 2011 show what can happen when nuclear fuel overheats.

In response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the U.S. government dramatically increased funding to develop tougher protective skins for nuclear fuel, hoping to spur innovation in designs that hadn't changed much in years. While the U.S. Department of Energy was spending $2 million before the accident on future fuel designs, the funding reached as much as $30 million afterward.

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