SiC/SiC composites are candidates for accident tolerant fuel cladding in light water reactors. In the extreme nuclear reactor environment, SiC-based fuel cladding will be exposed to neutron damage, significant heat flux, and a corrosive environment. To ensure reliable and safe operation of accident tolerant fuel cladding concepts such as SiC-based materials, it is important to assess thermo-mechanical performance under in-reactor conditions including irradiation and realistic temperature distributions. The effect of non-uniform dimensional changes caused by neutron irradiation with spatially varying temperatures, along with the closing of the fuel–cladding gap, on the stress development in the cladding over the course of irradiation were evaluated. The effect of non-uniform circumferential power profile in the fuel rod on the mechanical performance of the cladding is also evaluated. These analyses have been performed using the BISON fuel performance modeling code and the commercial finite element analysis code Abaqus. A constitutive model is constructed and solved numerically to predict the stress distribution in the cladding under normal operating conditions. The dependence of dimensions and thermophysical properties on irradiation dose and temperature has been incorporated into the models. Initial scoping results from parametric analyses provide time varying stress distributions in the cladding as well as the interaction of fuel rod with the cladding under different conditions of initial fuel rod-cladding gap and linear heat rate. It is found that a non-uniform circumferential power profile in the fuel rod may cause significant lateral bowing in the cladding, and motivates further analysis and evaluation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering