Transient performance of accident tolerant fuel in design basis accidents

Lap Y. Cheng, Arantxa Cuadra, Nicholas Brown, Michael Todosow

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    A set of transient analysis has been performed to assess the performance of candidate accident tolerant fuel (ATF) against reference UO2 fuel with Zircaloy cladding under design basis accident (DBA) conditions. This study examined two ATF options, U3Si2 fuel with SiC cladding and UO2 fuel with APMT cladding. The accident analyses were conducted using the system code TRACE for a three-loop PWR plant. PARCS standalone full-core calculations were done for each fuel/cladding combination to provide inputs to the TRACE point-kinetics model. The design basis accidents analyzed were a reactivity insertion accident (RIA) and a large break loss-of-coolant accident (LBLOCA). The RIA was simulated by the insertion of a reactivity ramp of $1 (one dollar) in 0.1 s at hot full power (HFP) condition. The LBLOCA was a simulation of a double-ended pipe break in one of the cold legs of the primary loops. Differences in thermal responses of the fuel and the cladding are attributed to their thermal properties. The U3Si2 fuel with its lower volumetric heat capacity and higher thermal conductivity (i.e. higher thermal diffusivity) generally results in a lower fuel temperature than the UO2 fuel and a correspondingly faster thermal response. Additional calculations for the U3Si2 fuel shows that in a RIA the cladding material, SiC versus Zr, has little impact on the maximum fuel centerline temperature and the PCT. An increase in the hot rod power factor is shown to raise the centerline fuel temperature in a RIA but has little impact on the PCT. The analysis results show that for a relatively fast decay heat driven transient, such as the LBLOCA, the thermal-hydraulics and fuel/cladding thermal properties dictate the overall response more so than the reactivity feedback. The results show that the PCTs in a LBLOCA are similar for all fuel/cladding combinations considered in this study. The LBLOCA analysis also notes the impact of the asymmetry in the system response. The fuel rods in the sector of the core connected to the hot leg of the broken loop (Sector 1 in the PWR model) is shown to have a much lower PCT than fuel rods in the other five sectors of the core. Results of this study indicate that for the two DBAs considered (RIA and LBLOCA) the transient behavior and the resulting peak cladding temperature of the two ATF options (U3Si2 fuel with SiC cladding and UO2 fuel with APMT cladding) are similar to the standard light-water reactor fuel (UO2 fuel with Zircaloy cladding).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationTop Fuel 2016
    Subtitle of host publicationLWR Fuels with Enhanced Safety and Performance
    PublisherAmerican Nuclear Society
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9780894487309
    StatePublished - 2016
    EventTop Fuel 2016: LWR Fuels with Enhanced Safety and Performance - Boise, United States
    Duration: Sep 11 2016Sep 15 2016

    Publication series

    NameTop Fuel 2016: LWR Fuels with Enhanced Safety and Performance


    OtherTop Fuel 2016: LWR Fuels with Enhanced Safety and Performance
    Country/TerritoryUnited States

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Fuel Technology
    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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