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Low Burnup Inert Matrix Fuels Performance: TRANSURANUS Analysis of the Halden IFA-652 First Irradiation Cycle

[+] Author Affiliations
R. Calabrese, F. Vettraino

ENEA, Nuclear Fission Division, Bologna, Italy

T. Tverberg

OECD Halden Reactor Project, Halden, Norway

Paper No. ICONE14-89104, pp. 807-814; 8 pages
  • 14th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Plant Operations, Maintenance and Life Cycle; Component Reliability and Materials Issues; Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues; Fuel Cycle and High Level Waste Management
  • Miami, Florida, USA, July 17–20, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4242-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3783-1
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


The inert matrix fuels are a promising option to reduce-eliminate worldwide plutonium stockpiles by burning it in LWRs. These fuels, where plutonium is hosted in a U-free inert matrix phase, may reach high burning efficiency while preventing new plutonium build-up under irradiation. A specific investigation on CSZ and thoria inert matrices has been developed by ENEA since several years. In-pile testing on the ENEA-conceived innovative fuels is ongoing in the OECD Halden HBWR since June 2000 (IFA-652 experiment). The registered burnup at the end of 2005 is about 38 MWd·kgUeq −1 vs. 45 MWd·kgUeq −1 (40 MWd·kgUOXeq −1 ) target. Fuel pins are equipped with fuel temperature thermocouples, internal pressure transducers and fuel stack elongation sensors, with the task of studying thermal conductivity and its degradation with burnup, densification-swelling behaviour and the FGR. In this paper, the response at low burnup (< 7 MWd·kgUeq −1 ) of CSZ-based fuels loaded in IFA-652, is analysed by means of the TRANSURANUS code. To this purpose, a comprehensive modelling of the above mentioned un-irradiated fuels, mainly relying on the thermophysical characterisation performed at the JRC/ITU-Karlsruhe, has been implemented in a custom TRANSURANUS version (TU-IMF). A comparison of the code predictions vs. the experimental data, aimed at evaluating the early-stage under irradiation phenomena, particularly densification and relocation, has been performed.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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