Assessment of swelling and constituent redistribution in uranium-zirconium fuel using phenomena identification and ranking tables (PIRT)

Walter J. Williams, Daniel M. Wachs, Maria A. Okuniewski, Sven Van den Berghe

    Research outputpeer-review


    Metallic alloy U-Zr nuclear fuels remain a candidate for future US fast reactors. However, with more than 30 years of investigation into the system, U-Zr fuel remains unqualified and lacks predictive modeling capabilities. Phenomenon identification and ranking tables (PIRT) were developed for U-Zr fuels to prioritize the study of microstructural phenomena related to fuel performance and to aid predictive models. Two areas of emphasis, fuel swelling and constituent redistribution, were identified with PIRT and were evaluated in detail. The analysis identified influencing parameters that should be considered during future studies including: external mechanical constraint, temperature, composition, crystallographic texture, temperature gradient, fabrication constraints, fission density, fission rate, initial porosity, and pre-irradiation grain size. The PIRT results support the need for a comprehensive study that focus on the decoupling of fission rate, irradiation temperature, and alloy composition to independently investigate the microstructural evolution in the multiple phases typical of advanced reactor conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number107016
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalAnnals of nuclear energy
    StatePublished - Feb 2020

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