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Report No.

Simulation of the effect of radially oriented hydride precipitates on failure limit of high-burnup BWR fuel cladding under PCMI loading

Taniguchi, Yoshinori ; Mihara, Takeshi  ; Udagawa, Yutaka  

Scattering of hydride precipitates in a fuel cladding tube was simply modeled by mapping of multiple cracks in finite element system based on the image-processed hydride morphologies observed in post-test cladding samples and the mechanical interactions of these cracks were simulated by damage mechanics calculation. This is a part of ongoing efforts to analyze the effect of the radially oriented hydride precipitates in the cladding tube on the fuel-failure limit observed in Test OS-1: a reactivity-initiated accident (RIA)-simulated test on the BWR fuel with additives irradiated to 64 GWd/tU, which resulted in a fuel failure with the lowest failure limit among the tests ever performed at the NSRR for high burnup BWR rods. The LS-1 test fuel rod, with similar burnup to the OS-1 rod, was selected as another RIA-simulated test rod to be compared with. Sensitivity was examined for damage model parameters, which dominate strain level at which a finite element becomes softened and finally loses its load-carrying capacity, and two sets of plasticity model parameters calibrated for irradiated and unirradiated materials. In the calculation, large stress concentration occurred in the regions between the tips of two adjacent cracks, and one pair of such cracks, typically one of the longest radial cracks existing in the outer periphery of the cladding, then linked to form a longer crack. The simulated macroscopic circumferential strain at failure of the OS-1 cladding model was lower than that of the LS-1 cladding model by about 40% or more. Limited sensitivity of the damage and plasticity model parameters, observed for the investigated range, suggests that the reduction of failure strain primarily reflects the difference in crack distributions between the two simulated rods. The results support the interpretation that the radially oriented hydrides contributed to the low PCMI-failure limit observed in Test OS-1.



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