The fuel element with circular cross-section for BWR and PWR consists of a core surrounded by a compound jacket container where there is a gap between the core and jacket during operation in the reactor. The core consists of U, Pu, Th compounds and mixtures of these. The compound jacket consists of zircaloy 2 or 4. In order to for example prevent the corrosion of the compound jacket, its inner surface has a metal barrier with smaller neutron absorbers than the jacket material in the form of a zirconium sponge. The zirconium of this metal barrier has impurities of various elements in the order of magnitude of 1000 to 5000 ppm. The oxygen content is in the range of 200 to 1200 ppm and the thickness of the metal barrier is 1-30% of the thickness of the jacket.