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Title: BWR Spent Nuclear Fuel Interfacial Bonding Efficiency Study

The objective of this project is to perform a systematic study of spent nuclear fuel (SNF, also known as “used nuclear fuel” [UNF]) integrity under simulated transportation environments using the Cyclic Integrated Reversible-Bending Fatigue Tester (CIRFT) hot-cell testing technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in August 2013. Under Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sponsorship, ORNL completed four benchmark tests, four static tests, and twelve dynamic or cycle tests on H. B. Robinson (HBR) high burn-up (HBU) fuel. The clad of the HBR fuels was made of Zircaloy-4. Testing was continued in fiscal year (FY) 2014 using Department of Energy (DOE) funds. Additional CIRFT testing was conducted on three HBR rods; two specimens failed, and one specimen was tested to over 2.23 × 10 7 cycles without failing. The data analysis on all the HBR SNF rods demonstrated that it is necessary to characterize the fatigue life of the SNF rods in terms of (1) the curvature amplitude and (2) the maximum absolute of curvature extremes. The maximum extremes are significant because they signify the maximum tensile stress for the outer fiber of the bending rod. CIRFT testing has also addressed a large variation in hydrogen content on the HBRmore » rods. While the load amplitude is the dominant factor that controls the fatigue life of bending rods, the hydrogen content also has an important effect on the lifetime attained at each load range tested. In FY 15, eleven SNF rod segments from the Limerick BWR were tested using the ORNL CIRFT equipment; one test under static conditions and ten tests under dynamic loading conditions. Under static unidirectional loading, a moment of 85 N·m was obtained at a maximum curvature of 4.0 m -1. The specimen did not show any sign of failure during three repeated loading cycles to a similar maximum curvature. Ten cyclic tests were conducted with amplitudes varying from 15.2 to 7.1 N·m. Failure was observed in nine of the tested rod specimens. The cycles-to-failure ranged from 1.22 × 10 5 to 4.70 × 10 6, and the amplitudes varied from 15.2 to 7.6 N·m. The measurements at the interrupts indicated a range of flexural rigidity from 30 to 50 N·m 2. Online monitoring revealed that the flexural rigidity was slightly lower due to the higher loading, from 25 to 42 N·m 2. Generally, no substantial change of rigidity was observed based on the online monitoring during the cyclic fatigue testing process. Overall, the decreasing trend of sample lifetime with increasing amplitude is well defined.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
AF5865010; NEAF346
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
spent nuclear fuel; pellet-pellet interface; interface bonding efficiency