Technical Project Plan for The Enhanced Thermal Conductivity of Oxide Fuels Through the Addition of High Thermal Conductivity Fibers and Microstructural Engineering

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The commercial nuclear power industry is investing heavily in advanced fuels that can produce higher power levels with a higher safety margin and be produced at low cost. Although chemically stable and inexpensive to manufacture, the in-core performance of UO{sub 2} fuel is limited by its low thermal conductivity. There will be enormous financial benefits to any utility that can exploit a new type of fuel that is chemically stable, has a high thermal conductivity, and is inexpensive to manufacture. At reactor operating temperatures, UO{sub 2} has a very low thermal conductivity (<5 W/m {center_dot}K), which decreases with temperature and ... continued below

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Hollenbach, Daniel F.; Ott, Larry J.; Besmann, Theodore M.; Armstrong, Beth L.; Wereszczak, Andrew A.; Lin, Hua-Tay et al. September 1, 2010.

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The commercial nuclear power industry is investing heavily in advanced fuels that can produce higher power levels with a higher safety margin and be produced at low cost. Although chemically stable and inexpensive to manufacture, the in-core performance of UO{sub 2} fuel is limited by its low thermal conductivity. There will be enormous financial benefits to any utility that can exploit a new type of fuel that is chemically stable, has a high thermal conductivity, and is inexpensive to manufacture. At reactor operating temperatures, UO{sub 2} has a very low thermal conductivity (<5 W/m {center_dot}K), which decreases with temperature and fuel burnup. This low thermal conductivity limits the rate at which energy can be removed from the fuel, thus limiting the total integrated reactor power. If the fuel thermal conductivity could be increased, nuclear reactors would be able to operate at higher powers and larger safety margins thus decreasing the overall cost of electricity by increasing the power output from existing reactors and decreasing the number of new electrical generating plants needed to meet base load demand. The objective of the work defined herein is to produce an advanced nuclear fuel based on the current UO{sub 2} fuel with superior thermal conductivity and structural integrity that is suitable for current and future nuclear reactors, using the existing fuel fabrication infrastructure with minimal modifications. There are two separate components to the research: (1) Enhanced Thermal Conductivity (ETC) - adding high conductivity fibers to the UO{sub 2} prior to sintering, which act as conduits for moving the heat energy generated within the pellet to the outer surface, (2) Microstructural Engineering (ME) - adding second phase particulates to UO{sub 2} bodies to retard grain growth and to increase thermal conductivity, as well as improve fracture and creep resistance. Different groups will perform the laboratory work for each of these research components with some overlap in personnel. The overlapping areas primarily involve computer simulations and final testing of the fuel in a reactor. The estimated cost and duration of this project is $5,000,000 over three years.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2010/233
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/990244 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 990244
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1012186

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  • September 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2017, 6:25 p.m.

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Hollenbach, Daniel F.; Ott, Larry J.; Besmann, Theodore M.; Armstrong, Beth L.; Wereszczak, Andrew A.; Lin, Hua-Tay et al. Technical Project Plan for The Enhanced Thermal Conductivity of Oxide Fuels Through the Addition of High Thermal Conductivity Fibers and Microstructural Engineering, report, September 1, 2010; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1012186/: accessed July 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.