Microstructural modeling of thermal conductivity of high burn-up mixed oxide fuel

Melissa Teague, Michael Tonks, Stephen Novascone, Steven Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Predicting the thermal conductivity of oxide fuels as a function of burn-up and temperature is fundamental to the efficient and safe operation of nuclear reactors. However, modeling the thermal conductivity of fuel is greatly complicated by the radially inhomogeneous nature of irradiated fuel in both composition and microstructure. In this work, radially and temperature-dependent models for effective thermal conductivity were developed utilizing optical micrographs of high burn-up mixed oxide fuel. The micrographs were employed to create finite element meshes with the OOF2 software. The meshes were then used to calculate the effective thermal conductivity of the microstructures using the BISON [1] fuel performance code. The new thermal conductivity models were used to calculate thermal profiles at end of life for the fuel pellets. These results were compared to thermal conductivity models from the literature, and comparison between the new finite element-based thermal conductivity model and the Duriez-Lucuta model was favorable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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