Material Performance of Fully-Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel under Selected LWR Design Basis Scenarios: Final Report

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The extension to LWRs of the use of Deep-Burn coated particle fuel envisaged for HTRs has been investigated. TRISO coated fuel particles are used in Fully-Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel within a SiC matrix rather than the graphite of HTRs. TRISO particles are well characterized for uranium-fueled HTRs. However, operating conditions of LWRs are different from those of HTRs (temperature, neutron energy spectrum, fast fluence levels, power density). Furthermore, the time scales of transient core behavior during accidents are usually much shorter and thus more severe in LWRs. The PASTA code was updated for analysis of stresses in coated particle FCM ... continued below

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Boer, B.; Sen, R. S.; Pope, M. A. & Ougouag, A. M. September 1, 2011.

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The extension to LWRs of the use of Deep-Burn coated particle fuel envisaged for HTRs has been investigated. TRISO coated fuel particles are used in Fully-Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel within a SiC matrix rather than the graphite of HTRs. TRISO particles are well characterized for uranium-fueled HTRs. However, operating conditions of LWRs are different from those of HTRs (temperature, neutron energy spectrum, fast fluence levels, power density). Furthermore, the time scales of transient core behavior during accidents are usually much shorter and thus more severe in LWRs. The PASTA code was updated for analysis of stresses in coated particle FCM fuel. The code extensions enable the automatic use of neutronic data (burnup, fast fluence as a function of irradiation time) obtained using the DRAGON neutronics code. An input option for automatic evaluation of temperature rise during anticipated transients was also added. A new thermal model for FCM was incorporated into the code; so-were updated correlations (for pyrocarbon coating layers) suitable to estimating dimensional changes at the high fluence levels attained in LWR DB fuel. Analyses of the FCM fuel using the updated PASTA code under nominal and accident conditions show: (1) Stress levels in SiC-coatings are low for low fission gas release (FGR) fractions of several percent, as based on data of fission gas diffusion in UO{sub 2} kernels. However, the high burnup level of LWR-DB fuel implies that the FGR fraction is more likely to be in the range of 50-100%, similar to Inert Matrix Fuels (IMFs). For this range the predicted stresses and failure fractions of the SiC coating are high for the reference particle design (500 {micro}mm kernel diameter, 100 {micro}mm buffer, 35 {micro}mm IPyC, 35 {micro}mm SiC, 40 {micro}mm OPyC). A conservative case, assuming 100% FGR, 900K fuel temperature and 705 MWd/kg (77% FIMA) fuel burnup, results in a 8.0 x 10{sup -2} failure probability. For a 'best-estimate' FGR fraction of 50% and a more modest burnup target level of 500 MWd/kg ,the failure probability drops below 2.0 x 10{sup -5}, the typical performance of TRISO fuel made under the German HTR research program. An optimization study on particle design shows improved performance if the buffer size is increased from 100 to 120 {micro}mm while reducing the OPyC layer. The presence of the latter layer does not provide much benefit at high burnup levels (and fast fluence levels). Normally the shrinkage of the OPyC would result in a beneficial compressive force on the SiC coating. However, at high fluence levels the shrinkage is expected to turn into swelling, resulting in the opposite effect. However, this situation is different when the SiC-matrix, in which the particles are embedded, is also considered: the OPyC swelling can result in a beneficial compressive force on the SiC coating since outward displacement of the OPyC outer surface is inhibited by the presence of the also-swelling SiC matrix. Taking some credit for this effect by adopting a 5 {micro}mm SiC-matrix layer, the optimized particle (100 {micro}mm buffer and 10 {micro}mm OPyC), gives a failure probability of 1.9 x 10{sup -4} for conservative conditions. During a LOCA transient, assuming core re-flood in 30 seconds, the temperature of the coated particle can be expected to be about 200K higher than nominal temperature (900K). For this event the particle failure fraction for a conservative case is 1.0 x 10{sup -2}, for the optimized particle design. For a FGR-fraction of 50% this value reduces to 6.4 x 10{sup -4}.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-11-23313
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/1042379 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1042379
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc829755

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  • September 1, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 2:01 p.m.

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Boer, B.; Sen, R. S.; Pope, M. A. & Ougouag, A. M. Material Performance of Fully-Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel under Selected LWR Design Basis Scenarios: Final Report, report, September 1, 2011; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc829755/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.