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Report No.

Mechanical property evaluation of Zircaloy cladding tube after LOCA-simulated experiment using nanoindentation method (Joint research)

Kakiuchi, Kazuo ; Udagawa, Yutaka  ; Yamauchi, Akihiro*

The primary cause of cladding embrittlement during loss-of-cool ant accident (LOCA) is the increase in oxygen concentration in the metallic layer and associated microstructural change due to oxidation. In the case of cladding high temperature rupture, inner surface oxidation by the steam ingress and the consequent increase in hydrogen partial pressure result in hydrogen absorption (secondary hydriding) localized in the axial direction at the distance apart from the rupture opening as is well known from preceding studies. In order to understand the effect of cladding microstructural changes on mechanical property of a fuel rod under LOCA conditions in a more precise and quantitative manner, the nanoindentation method has been applied to evaluation of mechanical properties of a cladding specimen after a LOCA simulated test; results for two samples taken from the rupture opening part and secondary hydriding part were compared with each other. The fraction of plastic work during the indentation was evaluated from the load-displacement curve in addition to hardness and Young's modulus. The plastic work fraction at the secondary hydriding part was found to be clearly lower than that at the rupture opening part and rather close to that in the ZrO$$_{2}$$ and $$alpha$$-Zr(O) layers, suggesting the significant ductility reduction of the secondary hydriding part despite its relatively low oxygen concentration.



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