Microstructural analysis of MTR fuel plates damaged by a coolant flow blockage

    Research outputpeer-review


    In 1975, as a result of a blockage of the coolant inlet flow, two plates of a fuel element of the BR2 reactor of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCKCEN) were partially melted. The fuel element consisted of Al-clad plates with 90% 235U enriched UAlx fuel dispersed in an Al matrix. The element had accumulated a burn up of 21% 235U before it was removed from the reactor. Recently, the damaged fuel plates were sent to the hot laboratory for detailed PIE. Microstructural changes and associated temperature markers were used to identify several stages in the progression to fuel melting. It was found that the temperature in the center of the fuel plate had increased above 900–950 C before the reactor was scrammed. In view of the limited availability of such datasets, the results of this microstructural analysis provide valuable input in the analysis of accident scenarios for research reactors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-94
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Oct 2009

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