skip to main content


Title: Metallography and fuel cladding chemical interaction in fast flux test facility irradiated metallic U-10Zr MFF-3 and MFF-5 fuel pins

The Mechanistic Fuel Failure (MFF) series of metal fuel irradiations conducted in the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) provides an important potential comparison between data generated in the Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) and that expected in a larger-scale fast reactor. The irradiations were the beginning tests to qualify U-10wt%Zr as a driver fuel for FFTF. The FFTF core, with a 91.4 cm tall fuel column and a chopped cosine neutron flux profile, operated with a peak cladding temperature at the top of the fuel column, but developed peak burnup at the centerline of the core. This then places the peak fuel temperature midway between the core center and the top of fuel, lower in the fuel column than in previous EBR-II experiments that had a 32-cm height core. The MFF-3 and MFF-5 qualification assemblies operated in FFTF to >10 at% burnup, and performed very well with no cladding breaches. The MFF-3 assembly operated to 13.8 at% burnup with a peak inner cladding temperature of 643°C, and the MFF-5 assembly operated to 10.1 at% burnup with a peak inner cladding temperature of 651°C. Because of the very high operating temperatures for both the fuel and the cladding, data from the MFFmore » assemblies are most comparable to the data obtained from the EBR-II X447 experiment, which experienced two pin breaches. The X447 breaches were strongly influenced by a large amount of fuel/cladding chemical interaction (FCCI). The MFF pins benefitted from different axial locations of high burnup and peak cladding temperature, which helped to reduce interdiffusion between rare earth fission products and stainless steel cladding. Post-irradiation examination evidence illustrates this advantage. After comparing other performance data of the long MFF pins to prior EBR-II test data, the MFF fuel inside the cladding grew less axially, and the gas release data did not reveal a definitive difference.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115; PII: S0022311516300496
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Nuclear Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 473; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; metallography; fuel cladding chemical interaction; irradiated fuel plans; MFF; FFTF
OSTI Identifier: