An Approach to Fuel Development and Qualification -AND- An Approach to Fuel Safety Testing -AND- Fuels for Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors Page: 3 of 7
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Based on initial results, reference fuel designs are
determined and improved. In this phase, life-limiting
phenomena are further investigated for implications for
fuel design and operation limits. A reference design is
established and information regarding its fabrication,
properties, and performance is collected. The results are
embodied in a Fuel Specification, and the understanding
of fuel properties and behavior is established through the
development of predictive models, and those models are
incorporated in a predictive Fuel Performance Code.
These efforts support the preparation of a Fuel Safety
Fabrication development establishes equipment
designs and processes that produce fuel meeting a fuel
specification with acceptable reliability. Key properties
are further assessed for the entire nominal range of
operating conditions and for certain off-normal
conditions. These properties are reviewed for quality
control and complied into a controlled data format, such
as a Fuel Properties Handbook.
Irradiation testing during this phase provides
performance data to inform the design improvement effort
and support the safety case. Fuel operating limits,
expected fuel lifetimes, and sensitivity of fuel behavior to
variations in fabrication parameters or in-service
conditions are determined. Finally, safety-related
behavior and phenomena under off-normal conditions,
such as transient overpower or transient undercooling, are
identified and assessed, often with a transient testing
reactor. The conditions selected for the off-normal tests
are chosen to envelop postulated design-basis accident
conditions for the reference reactor design.
PHASE 4: FUEL QUALIFICATION AND
The objective of the final phase is to demonstrate
prototype-scale fuel production in conformance with the
Fuel Specification; qualify production-line fuel by
demonstrating fuel performance to be within the bounds
of the Fuel Safety Case; demonstrate the safety and
reliability of a core or batch of reference fuel rods and
assemblies, accumulating reactor performance data and
operating experience; demonstration of acceptable fuel
behavior under design-basis accident conditions
anticipated for a licensable reactor system; and to validate
the predictive fuel performance code or codes
Acceptable fuel performance must be demonstrated
in a manner to validate the assumptions in the safety case.
A fuel qualification program entails the irradiation,
surveillance, and examination of a set of Lead Assemblies
fabricated in accordance with the Fuel Specification using
production line equipment. The irradiation conditions are
selected to encompass the anticipated range of in-service
conditions. As-irradiated fuel rods are selected (with
concurrence of the licensing agency) for testing under
specific DBA conditions to validate the assumptions and
methodology employed in the safety case. If fuel
behavior is within the bounds specified in the Fuel Safety
Case, then the fuel designs will be considered as qualified
for operation of that reactor, in accordance with limiting
conditions of operation identified in the safety case.
Contributing discussions with the following are gratefully
acknowledged: R. N. Hill of Argonne National
Laboratory; L. C. Walters and R. G. Pahl, formerly of
Argonne National Laboratory; and D. J. Hill now of Idaho
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Crawford, Douglas C.; Porter, Douglas L.; Wright, Authur E.; Cahalan, James E.; Hayes, Steven L. & Pasamehmetoglu, Kemal O. An Approach to Fuel Development and Qualification -AND- An Approach to Fuel Safety Testing -AND- Fuels for Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors, article, June 1, 2006; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882674/m1/3/: accessed February 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.