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Title: Severe Accident Scoping Simulations of Accident Tolerant Fuel Concepts for BWRs

Accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs) are fuels and/or cladding that, in comparison with the standard uranium dioxide Zircaloy system, can tolerate loss of active cooling in the core for a considerably longer time period while maintaining or improving the fuel performance during normal operations [1]. It is important to note that the currently used uranium dioxide Zircaloy fuel system tolerates design basis accidents (and anticipated operational occurrences and normal operation) as prescribed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Previously, preliminary simulations of the plant response have been performed under a range of accident scenarios using various ATF cladding concepts and fully ceramic microencapsulated fuel. Design basis loss of coolant accidents (LOCAs) and station blackout (SBO) severe accidents were analyzed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for boiling water reactors (BWRs) [2]. Researchers have investigated the effects of thermal conductivity on design basis accidents [3], investigated silicon carbide (SiC) cladding [4], as well as the effects of ATF concepts on the late stage accident progression [5]. These preliminary analyses were performed to provide initial insight into the possible improvements that ATF concepts could provide and to identify issues with respect to modeling ATF concepts. More recently, preliminary analyses for a range of ATFmore » concepts have been evaluated internationally for LOCA and severe accident scenarios for the Chinese CPR1000 [6] and the South Korean OPR-1000 [7] pressurized water reactors (PWRs). In addition to these scoping studies, a common methodology and set of performance metrics were developed to compare and support prioritizing ATF concepts [8]. A proposed ATF concept is based on iron-chromium-aluminum alloys (FeCrAl) [9]. With respect to enhancing accident tolerance, FeCrAl alloys have substantially slower oxidation kinetics compared to the zirconium alloys typically employed. During a severe accident, FeCrAl would tend to generate heat and hydrogen from oxidation at a slower rate compared to the zirconium-based alloys in use today. The previous study, [2], of the FeCrAl ATF concept during station blackout (SBO) severe accident scenarios in BWRs was based on simulating short term SBO (STSBO), long term SBO (LTSBO), and modified SBO scenarios occurring in a BWR-4 reactor with MARK-I containment. The analysis indicated that FeCrAl had the potential to delay the onset of fuel failure by a few hours depending on the scenario, and it could delay lower head failure by several hours. The analysis demonstrated reduced in-vessel hydrogen production. However, the work was preliminary and was based on limited knowledge of material properties for FeCrAl. Limitations of the MELCOR code were identified for direct use in modeling ATF concepts. This effort used an older version of MELCOR (1.8.5). Since these analyses, the BWR model has been updated for use in MELCOR 1.8.6 [10], and more representative material properties for FeCrAl have been modeled. Sections 2 4 present updated analyses for the FeCrAl ATF concept response during severe accidents in a BWR. The purpose of the study is to estimate the potential gains afforded by the FeCrAl ATF concept during BWR SBO scenarios.« less
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
AF5810000; NEAF278
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
Severe Accident Scoping; BWR