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Title: Novel Accident-Tolerant Fuel Meat and Cladding

A novel accident-tolerant fuel meat and cladding are here proposed. The fuel meat design incorporates annular fuel with inserts and discs that are fabricated from a material having high thermal conductivity, for example niobium. The inserts are rods or tubes. Discs separate the fuel pellets. Using the BISON fuel performance code it was found that the peak fuel temperature can be lowered by more than 600 degrees C for one set of conditions with niobium metal as the thermal conductor. In addition to improved safety margin, several advantages are expected from the lower temperature such as decreased fission gas release and fuel cracking. Advantages and disadvantages are discussed. An enrichment of only 7.5% fully compensates the lost reactivity of the displaced UO2. Slightly higher enrichments, such as 9%, allow uprates and increased burnups to offset the initial costs for retooling. The design has applications for fast reactors and transuranic burning, which may accelerate its development. A zirconium silicide coating is also described for accident tolerant applications. A self-limiting degradation behavior for this coating is expected to produce a glassy, self-healing layer that becomes more protective at elevated temperature, with some similarities to MoSi2 and other silicides. Both the fuel andmore » coating may benefit from the existing technology infrastructure and the associated wide expertise for a more rapid development in comparison to other, more novel fuels and cladding.« less
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Publication Date:
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Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
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Resource Relation:
Conference: Top Fuels 2013,Charlotte NC,09/15/2013,09/19/2013
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS accident tolerant fuel; ATF; cladding; coating; light water reactor; LWR; self-healing; silicide; zirconium