Fuel Cycle Themes

Science that supports the UK’s ambitious Net Zero landscape

AFCP is divided into 11 distinct themes covering Advanced Nuclear Fuels through to Advanced Recycling and Sustainability. Together, these themes span the nuclear fuel cycle to enable future nuclear innovation and deployment in the UK. 

Each theme has a unique mission, but all contribute to AFCP’s wider ambitions. As a programme built on collaboration and joint innovation, AFCP’s eleven areas target key outcomes to ensure that UK’s future fuel deployment remains environmentally-conscious and cost-effective. Through holistic fuel cycle science, we are reaching new clean energy horizons with sustainability and future generations in mind. In developing advanced nuclear generation technologies and processes, AFCP is redefining the scope of nuclear innovation in the evolving low-carbon energy ecosystem.

Our Advanced Nuclear Fuels themes are providing innovative solutions to clean energy demand. With near-term deployment opportunities across Britain’s nuclear energy landscape, this work will also help inform the Advanced and Generation IV reactors of the future.

Simultaneously, our Advanced Recycling and Sustainability areas ensure these technologies remain clean, safe and efficient with time. AFCP is developing the processes and services that industry requires to effectively minimise the environmental impact of advanced nuclear fuels. 

Advanced nuclear fuels

Accident tolerant fuels

AFCP is elevating advanced technology fuels to realise their full range of benefits. We are fabricating and testing safe, affordable fuels of the future.

Coated particle fuels

Advanced kernel technology has become increasingly valuable for high-temperature reactor conversations. At the cusp of this innovation, AFCP is re-establishing the UK's manufacturing capabilities and technological understanding.

Fast reactor fuels

We are pioneering fast reactor technologies for more energy-efficient reactors. AFCP is investigating test fuel for fast reactor technologies and transuranic materials handling techniques.

Nuclear data

Modelling of future energy systems requires robust data. We understand the vitality of modelling technology, and are improving nuclear data to make energy analysis more insightful and accurate than ever before. 

Advanced recycling and sustainability

Aqueous recycle

Promoting sustainability and waste minimisation, AFCP will improve the UK's recycling capabilities. Efficient recycling of water-based by-product is essential to reduce the amount and radiotoxicity of nuclear material.

Off-gas capture

Sustainable fuel cycles must consider the atmospheric effects. Our work minimises the environmental impact of advanced recycling while ensuring industry can effectively meet regulation standards.


Reusability is central to a sustainable fuel cycle.  Across a range of environments, AFCP is working to understand the chemical and physical changes that can transform used nuclear reactor material into new fuel.

Waste immobilisation technologies

The products generated by aqueous reprocessing plants are historically turned into solid for long-term disposal. AFCP is developing innovative technologies to safely store solid material for generations to come. 

Solvent and effluent treatment

The solvent and effluents resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear material are costly and difficult to process. AFCP is exploring alternative ways of safely treating these products in a sustainable, resource-efficient manner.

Pyro waste

AFCP is developing technological innovations around safely reprocessing molten salt material. This work develops UK expertise through enhanced understanding of the fuel cycle.

Fast reactor fuel recycle

Parallel to our fast reactor fuel innovation, we are developing efficient plutonium recycling routes to reduce raw material usage. Efficiently managing fast reactor material will ensure a sustainable fuel cycle.