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Title: A review of inherent safety characteristics of metal alloy sodium-cooled fast reactor fuel against postulated accidents

The thermal, mechanical, and neutronic performance of the metal alloy fast reactor fuel design complements the safety advantages of the liquid metal cooling and the pool-type primary system. Together, these features provide large safety margins in both normal operating modes and for a wide range of postulated accidents. In particular, they maximize the measures of safety associated with inherent reactor response to unprotected, double-fault accidents, and to minimize risk to the public and plant investment. High thermal conductivity and high gap conductance play the most significant role in safety advantages of the metallic fuel, resulting in a flatter radial temperature profile within the pin and much lower normal operation and transient temperatures in comparison to oxide fuel. Despite the big difference in melting point, both oxide and metal fuels have a relatively similar margin to melting during postulated accidents. When the metal fuel cladding fails, it typically occurs below the coolant boiling point and the damaged fuel pins remain coolable. Metal fuel is compatible with sodium coolant, eliminating the potential of energetic fuel--coolant reactions and flow blockages. All these, and the low retained heat leading to a longer grace period for operator action, are significant contributing factors to the inherentlymore » benign response of metallic fuel to postulated accidents. This paper summarizes the past analytical and experimental results obtained in past sodium-cooled fast reactor safety programs in the United States, and presents an overview of fuel safety performance as observed in laboratory and in-pile tests.« less
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Nuclear Engineering and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 47; Journal Issue: 3; Conference: Melbourne (Australia), 19-25 Apr 2015; Journal ID: ISSN 1738-5733
Korean Nuclear Society
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; inherent safety; metal fuel; passive safety; SFR
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1196234