SiC and FeCrAl as Potential Cladding Materials for APR-1400 Neutronic Analysis

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    Abstract

    The aim of this study is to investigate the potential improvement of accident-tolerant fuels in pressurized water reactors for replacing existing reference zircaloy (Zr) fuel-cladding systems. Three main strategies for improving accident-tolerant fuels are investigated: enhancement of the present state-of-the-art zirconium fuel-cladding system to improve oxidation resistance, replacement of the current referenced fuel-cladding system material with an alternative high-performance oxidation-resistant cladding, and replacement of the current fuel with alternative fuel forms. This study focuses on a preliminary analysis of the neutronic behavior and properties of silicon carbide (SiC)-fuel and FeCrAl cladding systems, which provide a better safety margin as accident-tolerant fuel systems for pressurized water reactors. The typical physical behavior of both cladding systems is investigated to determine their general neutronic performance. The multiplication factor, thermal neutron flux spectrum,239Pu inventory, pin power distribution, and radial power are analyzed and compared with those of a reference Zr fuel-cladding system. Furthermore, the effects of a burnable poison rod (Gd2O3) in different fuel assemblies are investigated. SiC cladding assemblies present a softer neutron spectrum and a lower linear power distribution compared with the conventional Zrfuel-cladding system. Additionally, the SiC fuel-cladding system exhibits behaviors that are consistent with the neutronic behavior of conventional Zr fuel-cladding systems, thereby affording greater economic and safety improvements.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number3772
    JournalEnergies
    Volume15
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 May 2022

    Keywords

    • cladding
    • FeCrAl
    • light water reactor
    • nuclear fuel
    • SiC

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