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Title: Ferritic Alloys as Accident Tolerant Fuel Cladding Material for Light Water Reactors

The objective of the GE project is to demonstrate that advanced steels such as iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) alloys could be used as accident tolerant fuel cladding material in commercial light water reactors. The GE project does not include fuel development. Current findings support the concept that a FeCrAl alloy could be used for the cladding of commercial nuclear fuel. The use of this alloy will benefit the public since it is going to make the power generating light water reactors safer. In the Phase 1A of this cost shared project, GE (GRC + GNF) teamed with the University of Michigan, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study the environmental and mechanical behavior of more than eight candidate cladding materials both under normal operation conditions of commercial nuclear reactors and under accident conditions in superheated steam (loss of coolant condition). The main findings are as follows: (1) Under normal operation conditions the candidate alloys (e.g. APMT, Alloy 33) showed excellent resistance to general corrosion, shadow corrosion and to environmentally assisted cracking. APMT also showed resistance to proton irradiation up to 5 dpa. (2) Under accident conditions the selected candidate materials showed severalmore » orders of magnitude improvement in the reaction with superheated steam as compared with the current zirconium based alloys. (3) Tube fabrication feasibility studies of FeCrAl alloys are underway. The aim is to obtain a wall thickness that is below 400 µm. (4) A strategy is outlined for the regulatory path approval and for the insertion of a lead fuel assembly in a commercial reactor by 2022. (5) The GE team worked closely with INL to have four rodlets tested in the ATR. GE provided the raw stock for the alloys, the fuel for the rodlets and the cost for fabrication/welding of the rodlets. INL fabricated the rodlets and the caps and welded them to provide hermetic seal. The replacement of a zirconium alloy using a ferritic material containing chromium and aluminum appears to be the most near term implementation for accident tolerant nuclear fuels.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. General Electric Global Research, Schnectady, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1166777
Report Number(s):
DOE--NE0000568
TRN: US1500396
DOE Contract Number:
NE0000568
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
General Electric Global Research Center, Schnectady, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; FERRITIC STEELS; ZIRCONIUM BASE ALLOYS; LOSS OF COOLANT; WATER MODERATED REACTORS; NUCLEAR FUELS; WATER COOLED REACTORS; WELDING; FUEL CANS; CHROMIUM ALLOYS; ALUMINIUM ALLOYS; PROTONS; CRACKS; ATOMIC DISPLACEMENTS; CORROSION RESISTANCE; LEAD; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; STEADY-STATE CONDITIONS; WELDED JOINTS; STEAM; THICKNESS; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; FUEL ASSEMBLIES; IRRADIATION; SEALS; TUBES; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; NUCLEAR SUPERHEATING nuclear energy; cladding; oxidation; cracking; design conditions; beyond design; accident