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Title: 3D Simulation of Missing Pellet Surface Defects in Light Water Reactor Fuel Rods

The cladding on light water reactor (LWR) fuel rods provides a stable enclosure for fuel pellets and serves as a first barrier against fission product release. Consequently, it is important to design fuel to prevent cladding failure due to mechanical interactions with fuel pellets. Cladding stresses can be effectively limited by controlling power increase rates. However, it has been shown that local geometric irregularities caused by manufacturing defects known as missing pellet surfaces (MPS) in fuel pellets can lead to elevated cladding stresses that are sufficiently high to cause cladding failure. Accurate modeling of these defects can help prevent these types of failures. Nuclear fuel performance codes commonly use a 1.5D (axisymmetric, axially-stacked, one-dimensional radial) or 2D axisymmetric representation of the fuel rod. To study the effects of MPS defects, results from 1.5D or 2D fuel performance analyses are typically mapped to thermo-mechanical models that consist of a 2D plane-strain slice or a full 3D representation of the geometry of the pellet and clad in the region of the defect. The BISON fuel performance code developed at Idaho National Laboratory employs either a 2D axisymmetric or 3D representation of the full fuel rod. This allows for a computational model ofmore » the full fuel rod to include local defects. A 3D thermo-mechanical model is used to simulate the global fuel rod behavior, and includes effects on the thermal and mechanical behavior of the fuel due to accumulation of fission products, fission gas production and release, and the effects of fission gas accumulation on thermal conductivity across the fuel-clad gap. Local defects can be modeled simply by including them in the 3D fuel rod model, without the need for mapping between two separate models. This allows for the complete set of physics used in a fuel performance analysis to be included naturally in the computational representation of the local defect, and for the effects of the local defect to be coupled with the global fuel rod model. This approach for modeling fuel with MPS defects is demonstrated and compared with alternative techniques. The effects of varying parameters of the MPS defect are studied using this technique and presented here.« less
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Resource Relation:
Conference: TopFuel Reactor Fuel Performance 2012,Manchester, UK,09/02/2012,09/06/2012
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS missing pellet surface; multiphysics simulation; nuclear fuel; pellet clad mechanical interaction