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Title: Accident Tolerant Fuel Analysis

Abstract

Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Consequently, the ability to better characterize and quantify safety margin holds the key to improved decision making about light water reactor design, operation, and plant life extension. A systematic approach to characterization of safety margins and the subsequent margins management options represents a vital input to the licensee and regulatory analysis and decision making that will be involved. The purpose of the Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway research and development (R&D) is to support plant decisions for risk-informed margins management by improving economics and reliability, and sustaining safety, of current NPPs. Goals of the RISMC Pathway are twofold: (1) Develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by NPP decision makers as part of their margin recovery strategies. (2) Create an advanced “RISMC toolkit” that enables more accurate representation of NPP safety margin. In order to carry out the R&D needed for the Pathway, the Idaho National Laboratory is performing a series of case studies that will explore methods- and tools-development issues, in addition to being of current interest in their own right. One such studymore » is a comparative analysis of safety margins of plants using different fuel cladding types: specifically, a comparison between current-technology Zircaloy cladding and a notional “accident-tolerant” (e.g., SiC-based) cladding. The present report begins the process of applying capabilities that are still under development to the problem of assessing new fuel designs. The approach and lessons learned from this case study will be included in future Technical Basis Guides produced by the RISMC Pathway. These guides will be the mechanism for developing the specifications for RISMC tools and for defining how plant decision makers should propose and evaluate margin recovery strategies.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  2. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1168647
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-14-33200
TRN: US1500009
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; MATERIALS RECOVERY; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; REACTOR SAFETY; SAFETY MARGINS; NUCLEAR FUELS; CLADDING; SILICON CARBIDES; IDAHO NATIONAL LABORATORY; WATER MODERATED REACTORS; ZIRCALOY; FUELS; REACTOR ACCIDENTS; WATER COOLED REACTORS; DECISION MAKING; ECONOMICS; HAZARDS; OPERATION; RISK ASSESSMENT; CALCULATION METHODS; REACTOR LICENSING; RELIABILITY; RISMC; Accident-Tolerant Fuel

Citation Formats

Smith, Curtis, Chichester, Heather, Johns, Jesse, Teague, Melissa, Tonks, Michael, and Youngblood, Robert. Accident Tolerant Fuel Analysis. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1168647.
Smith, Curtis, Chichester, Heather, Johns, Jesse, Teague, Melissa, Tonks, Michael, & Youngblood, Robert. Accident Tolerant Fuel Analysis. United States. doi:10.2172/1168647.
Smith, Curtis, Chichester, Heather, Johns, Jesse, Teague, Melissa, Tonks, Michael, and Youngblood, Robert. Mon . "Accident Tolerant Fuel Analysis". United States. doi:10.2172/1168647. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1168647.
@article{osti_1168647,
title = {Accident Tolerant Fuel Analysis},
author = {Smith, Curtis and Chichester, Heather and Johns, Jesse and Teague, Melissa and Tonks, Michael and Youngblood, Robert},
abstractNote = {Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Consequently, the ability to better characterize and quantify safety margin holds the key to improved decision making about light water reactor design, operation, and plant life extension. A systematic approach to characterization of safety margins and the subsequent margins management options represents a vital input to the licensee and regulatory analysis and decision making that will be involved. The purpose of the Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway research and development (R&D) is to support plant decisions for risk-informed margins management by improving economics and reliability, and sustaining safety, of current NPPs. Goals of the RISMC Pathway are twofold: (1) Develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by NPP decision makers as part of their margin recovery strategies. (2) Create an advanced “RISMC toolkit” that enables more accurate representation of NPP safety margin. In order to carry out the R&D needed for the Pathway, the Idaho National Laboratory is performing a series of case studies that will explore methods- and tools-development issues, in addition to being of current interest in their own right. One such study is a comparative analysis of safety margins of plants using different fuel cladding types: specifically, a comparison between current-technology Zircaloy cladding and a notional “accident-tolerant” (e.g., SiC-based) cladding. The present report begins the process of applying capabilities that are still under development to the problem of assessing new fuel designs. The approach and lessons learned from this case study will be included in future Technical Basis Guides produced by the RISMC Pathway. These guides will be the mechanism for developing the specifications for RISMC tools and for defining how plant decision makers should propose and evaluate margin recovery strategies.},
doi = {10.2172/1168647},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}

Technical Report:

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  • In FY2014 our group completed and documented analysis of new Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) concepts using BISON. We have modeled the viability of moving from Zircaloy to stainless steel cladding in traditional light water reactors (LWRs). We have explored the reactivity penalty of this change using the MCNP-based burnup code Monteburns, while attempting to minimize this penalty by increasing the fuel pellet radius and decreasing the cladding thickness. Fuel performance simulations using BISON have also been performed to quantify changes to structural integrity resulting from thinner stainless steel claddings. We account for thermal and irradiation creep, fission gas swelling, thermalmore » swelling and fuel relocation in the models for both Zircaloy and stainless steel claddings. Additional models that account for the lower oxidation stainless steel APMT are also invoked where available. Irradiation data for HT9 is used as a fallback in the absence of appropriate models. In this study the isotopic vectors within each natural element are varied to assess potential reactivity gains if advanced enrichment capabilities were levied towards cladding technologies. Recommendations on cladding thicknesses for a robust cladding as well as the constitutive components of a less penalizing composition are provided. In the first section (section 1-3), we present results accepted for publication in the 2014 TOPFUEL conference regarding the APMT/UO₂ ATF concept (J. Galloway & C. Unal, Accident Tolerant and Neutronically Favorable LWR Cladding, Proceedings of WRFPM 2014, Sendai, Japan, Paper No.1000050). Next we discuss our preliminary findings from the thermo-mechanical analysis of UN-U₃Si₅ fuel with APMT clad. In this analysis we used models developed from limited data that need to be updated when the irradiation data from ATF-1 test is available. Initial results indicate a swelling rate less than 1.5% is needed to prevent excessive clad stress.« less
  • Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Consequently, the ability to better characterize and quantify safety margin holds the key to improved decision making about light water reactor design, operation, and plant life extension. A systematic approach to characterization of safety margins and the subsequent margins management options represents a vital input to the licensee and regulatory analysis and decision making that will be involved. The purpose of the Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway research and development (R&D) is to support plant decisions for risk-informed margins management by improving economicsmore » and reliability, and sustaining safety, of current NPPs. Goals of the RISMC Pathway are twofold: (1) Develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by NPP decision makers as part of their margin recovery strategies. (2) Create an advanced “RISMC toolkit” that enables more accurate representation of NPP safety margin. In order to carry out the R&D needed for the Pathway, the Idaho National Laboratory is performing a series of case studies that will explore methods- and tools-development issues, in addition to being of current interest in their own right. One such study is a comparative analysis of safety margins of plants using different fuel cladding types: specifically, a comparison between current-technology Zircaloy cladding and a notional “accident-tolerant” (e.g., SiC-based) cladding. The present report begins the process of applying capabilities that are still under development to the problem of assessing new fuel designs. The approach and lessons learned from this case study will be included in future Technical Basis Guides produced by the RISMC Pathway. These guides will be the mechanism for developing the specifications for RISMC tools and for defining how plant decision makers should propose and evaluate margin recovery strategies.« less
  • Accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs) are fuels and/or cladding that, in comparison with the standard uranium dioxide Zircaloy system, can tolerate loss of active cooling in the core for a considerably longer time period while maintaining or improving the fuel performance during normal operations [1]. It is important to note that the currently used uranium dioxide Zircaloy fuel system tolerates design basis accidents (and anticipated operational occurrences and normal operation) as prescribed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Previously, preliminary simulations of the plant response have been performed under a range of accident scenarios using various ATF cladding concepts and fully ceramicmore » microencapsulated fuel. Design basis loss of coolant accidents (LOCAs) and station blackout (SBO) severe accidents were analyzed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for boiling water reactors (BWRs) [2]. Researchers have investigated the effects of thermal conductivity on design basis accidents [3], investigated silicon carbide (SiC) cladding [4], as well as the effects of ATF concepts on the late stage accident progression [5]. These preliminary analyses were performed to provide initial insight into the possible improvements that ATF concepts could provide and to identify issues with respect to modeling ATF concepts. More recently, preliminary analyses for a range of ATF concepts have been evaluated internationally for LOCA and severe accident scenarios for the Chinese CPR1000 [6] and the South Korean OPR-1000 [7] pressurized water reactors (PWRs). In addition to these scoping studies, a common methodology and set of performance metrics were developed to compare and support prioritizing ATF concepts [8]. A proposed ATF concept is based on iron-chromium-aluminum alloys (FeCrAl) [9]. With respect to enhancing accident tolerance, FeCrAl alloys have substantially slower oxidation kinetics compared to the zirconium alloys typically employed. During a severe accident, FeCrAl would tend to generate heat and hydrogen from oxidation at a slower rate compared to the zirconium-based alloys in use today. The previous study, [2], of the FeCrAl ATF concept during station blackout (SBO) severe accident scenarios in BWRs was based on simulating short term SBO (STSBO), long term SBO (LTSBO), and modified SBO scenarios occurring in a BWR-4 reactor with MARK-I containment. The analysis indicated that FeCrAl had the potential to delay the onset of fuel failure by a few hours depending on the scenario, and it could delay lower head failure by several hours. The analysis demonstrated reduced in-vessel hydrogen production. However, the work was preliminary and was based on limited knowledge of material properties for FeCrAl. Limitations of the MELCOR code were identified for direct use in modeling ATF concepts. This effort used an older version of MELCOR (1.8.5). Since these analyses, the BWR model has been updated for use in MELCOR 1.8.6 [10], and more representative material properties for FeCrAl have been modeled. Sections 2 4 present updated analyses for the FeCrAl ATF concept response during severe accidents in a BWR. The purpose of the study is to estimate the potential gains afforded by the FeCrAl ATF concept during BWR SBO scenarios.« less
  • The overall objective of this study was to conduct a technology gap evaluation on accident tolerant components and severe accident analysis methodologies with the goal of identifying any data and/or knowledge gaps that may exist, given the current state of light water reactor (LWR) severe accident research, and additionally augmented by insights obtained from the Fukushima accident. The ultimate benefit of this activity is that the results can be used to refine the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Reactor Safety Technology (RST) research and development (R&D) program plan to address key knowledge gaps in severe accident phenomena and analyses that affectmore » reactor safety and that are not currently being addressed by the industry or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).« less
  • This report details the analysis of neutronics and fuel performance analysis for enhanced accident tolerance fuel, with Monte Carlo reactor physics code Serpent and INL’s fuel performance code BISON, respectively. The purpose is to evaluate two of the most promising candidate materials, FeCrAl and Silicon Carbide (SiC), as the fuel cladding under normal operating conditions. Substantial neutron penalty is identified when FeCrAl is used as monolithic cladding for current oxide fuel. From the reactor physics standpoint, application of the FeCrAl alloy as coating layer on surface of zircaloy cladding is possible without increasing fuel enrichment. Meanwhile, SiC brings extra reactivitymore » and the neutron penalty is of no concern. Application of either FeCrAl or SiC could be favorable from the fuel performance standpoint. Detailed comparison between monolithic cladding and hybrid cladding (cladding + coating) is discussed. Hybrid cladding is more practical based on the economics evaluation during the transition from current UO2/zircaloy to Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) system. However, a few issues remain to be resolved, such as the creep behavior of FeCrAl, coating spallation, inter diffusion with zirconium, etc. For SiC, its high thermal conductivity, excellent creep resistance, low thermal neutron absorption cross section, irradiation stability (minimal swelling) make it an excellent candidate materials for future nuclear fuel/cladding system.« less