The Rod-Extremity and Gadolinia AnaLysis (REGAL) Program is a joint international effort to expand the nuclide inventory experimental data for irradiated nuclear fuel, with a specific focus on addressing two challenging needs associated with the characterization of modern, high duty, nuclear fuel. The first challenge is filling the gaps in experimental nuclide inventory data for gadolinia (UO2–Gd2O3) fuel rods. The huge absorption cross sections of Gd-155 and Gd-157 in the Gd dopant in these rods lead to atypical spatial self-shielding patterns and have an impact on the neutronic environment within the fuel assembly compared to regular UO2 fuel rods. The second challenge is investigating the impact of burnup gradients at rod extremities on fuel composition and neutron leakage, to provide relevant experimental data for assessing computational capabilities to model such impact. A benchmark has been defined as a first step in the development of best-estimate models in the preliminary phase of the experimental data evaluation. Comparison of experimental results obtained in Phase I of the program for two measured pressurized water reactor (PWR) samples, one UO2 and one UO2–Gd2O3 sample, with calculated results obtained with different computational tools based on the defined benchmark are presented and discussed.