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Title: Accident-tolerant oxide fuel and cladding

Abstract

Systems and methods for accident tolerant oxide fuel. One or more disks can be placed between fuel pellets comprising UO.sub.2, wherein such disks possess a higher thermal conductivity material than that of the UO.sub.2 to provide enhanced heat rejection thereof. Additionally, a cladding coating comprising zircaloy coated with a material that provides stability and high melting capability can be provided. The pellets can be configured as annular pellets having an annulus filled with the higher thermal conductivity material. The material coating the zircaloy can be, for example, Zr.sub.5Si.sub.4 or another silicide such as, for example, a Zr-Silicide that limits corrosion. The aforementioned higher thermal conductivity material can be, for example, Si, Zr.sub.xSi.sub.y, Zr, or Al.sub.2O.sub.3.

Inventors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Washington Procurement Operations Office, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1360772
Patent Number(s):
9,666,310
Application Number:
13/847,009
Assignee:
U.S. Department of Energy HQPR
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05-ID114517
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Patent File Date: 2013 Mar 19
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS

Citation Formats

Mariani, Robert D. Accident-tolerant oxide fuel and cladding. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Mariani, Robert D. Accident-tolerant oxide fuel and cladding. United States.
Mariani, Robert D. Tue . "Accident-tolerant oxide fuel and cladding". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1360772.
@article{osti_1360772,
title = {Accident-tolerant oxide fuel and cladding},
author = {Mariani, Robert D.},
abstractNote = {Systems and methods for accident tolerant oxide fuel. One or more disks can be placed between fuel pellets comprising UO.sub.2, wherein such disks possess a higher thermal conductivity material than that of the UO.sub.2 to provide enhanced heat rejection thereof. Additionally, a cladding coating comprising zircaloy coated with a material that provides stability and high melting capability can be provided. The pellets can be configured as annular pellets having an annulus filled with the higher thermal conductivity material. The material coating the zircaloy can be, for example, Zr.sub.5Si.sub.4 or another silicide such as, for example, a Zr-Silicide that limits corrosion. The aforementioned higher thermal conductivity material can be, for example, Si, Zr.sub.xSi.sub.y, Zr, or Al.sub.2O.sub.3.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 30 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Tue May 30 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Patent:

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  • Since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, enhancing the accident tolerance of light water reactors (LWRs) has become an important research topic. In particular, the community is actively developing enhanced fuels and cladding for LWRs to improve safety in the event of accidents in the reactor or spent fuel pools. Fuels with enhanced accident tolerance are those that, in comparison with the standard UO2-zirconium alloy system, can tolerate loss of active cooling in the reactor core for a considerably longer time period during design-basis and beyond design-basis events while maintaining or improving the fuel performance during normalmore » operations and operational transients. This paper presents early work in developing thermal and mechanical models for two materials that may have promise: U-Si for fuel, and FeCrAl for cladding. These materials would not necessarily be used together in the same fuel system, but individually have promising characteristics. BISON, the finite element-based fuel performance code in development at Idaho National Laboratory, was used to compare results from normal operation conditions with Zr-4/UO2 behavior. In addition, sensitivity studies are presented for evaluating the relative importance of material parameters such as ductility and thermal conductivity in FeCrAl and U-Si in order to provide guidance on future experiments for these materials.« less
  • 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 releasemore » 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 and 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
  • The Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCRD) program’s Advanced Fuels Campaign has initiated a multifold effort aimed at facilitating development of accident tolerant fuels in order to overcome the inherent shortcomings of light water reactor (LWR) fuels when exposed to beyond design basis accident conditions. The campaign has invested in development of experimental infrastructure within the Department of Energy complex capable of chronicling the performance of a wide range of concepts under prototypic accident conditions. This report summarizes progress made at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in FY13 toward these goals. Alternative fuel claddingmore » materials to Zircaloy for accident tolerance and a significantly extended safety margin requires oxidation resistance to steam or steam-H 2 environments at ≥1200°C for short times. At ORNL, prior work focused attention on SiC, FeCr and FeCrAl as the most promising candidates for further development. Also, it was observed that elevated pressure and H2 additions had minor effects on alloy steam oxidation resistance, thus, 1 bar steam was adequate for screening potential candidates. Commercial Fe-20Cr-5Al alloys remain protective up to 1475°C in steam and CVD SiC up to 1700°C in steam. Alloy development has focused on Fe-Cr-Mn-Si-Y and Fe-Cr-Al-Y alloys with the aluminaforming alloys showing more promise. At 1200°C, ferritic binary Fe-Cr alloys required ≥25% Cr to be protective for this application. With minor alloy additions to Fe-Cr, more than 20%Cr was still required, which makes the alloy susceptible to α’ embrittlement. Based on current results, a Fe-15Cr-5Al-Y composition was selected for initial tube fabrication and welding for irradiation experiments in FY14. Evaluations of chemical vapor deposited (CVD) SiC were conducted up to 1700°C in steam. The reaction of H 2O with the alumina reaction tube at 1700°C resulted in Al(OH) 3 formation, which reacted with the specimen to form a liquid reaction product. This behavior was not observed at lower temperatures where gas velocity and H 2O content showed typical effects on the reaction rate. For LANL, the capabilities for oxidation testing as well as exploration of a methodology for measurement of hydrogen production of samples during oxidation under water vapor atmospheres is discussed. Results obtained for available commercial alloys are summarized, and data highlighting the performance of molybdenum, a recently proposed cladding material, are presented. Finally, leveraging of these techniques in conjunction with current and companion FCRD programs is discussed with respect to work in FY14.« less
  • Ferritic FeCrAl-based alloys show increased oxidation resistance for accident tolerant applications as fuel cladding. This study focuses on investigating the weldability of three model FeCrAl alloys with varying alloy compositions using laser-welding techniques. A detailed study of the mechanical properties of bead-on-plate welds was used to determine the quality of welds as a function of alloy composition. Laser welding resulted in defect free welds devoid of cracking or inclusions. Initial results indicate a reduction in the yield strength of weldments compared to the base material due to distinct changes in the microstructure within the fusion zone. Although a loss ofmore » yield strength was observed, there was no significant difference in the magnitude of the tensile property changes with varying Cr or Al content. Also, there was no evidence of embrittlement; the material in the fusion zones demonstrated ductile behavior with high local ductility.« less