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A Three-Dimensional Analysis of the Local Stresses and Strains at the Pellet Ridges in a Horizontal Nuclear Fuel Element

[+] Author Affiliations
Kyle A. L. Gamble, Paul K. Chan

Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON, Canada

Anthony F. Williams

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River, ON, Canada

Paper No. ICONE22-30023, pp. V001T02A003; 11 pages
  • 2014 22nd International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Plant Operations, Maintenance, Engineering, Modifications, Life Cycle and Balance of Plant; Nuclear Fuel and Materials; Plant Systems, Structures and Components; Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues
  • Prague, Czech Republic, July 7–11, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4589-9
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME and The Crown


A three-dimensional finite element model is being developed for a quarter fuel element, which is equivalent to a full fuel element using symmetry. The model uses the Multiphysics Object-Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) framework developed at Idaho National Laboratory. The model facilitates an in-depth investigation into a variety of deformation phenomena for a horizontal nuclear fuel element including bowing, sagging, and stresses and strains.

This paper presents a preliminary analysis of the local stresses and strains of the sheath (clad) at the pellet-to-pellet interfaces for low, normal and high linear powers. During irradiation the fuel pellets thermally expand and take on an hourglass shape. The hourglassing behaviour leads to higher local stresses and strains in the sheath at the locations of the pellet-to-pellet interfaces. The purpose of this work is to quantify these stresses and strains for varying linear powers, and to illustrate the effect that the material model chosen for the cladding has on the results. Preliminary results are presented for two sheath types: elastic, and elastic including diffusional creep. These models are benchmarked against a validated industry code called ELESTRES. The results indicate that the predicted sheath hoop strain is about half of what is determined by ELESTRES in both the elastic and elastic-creep cases. This highlights the requirement of a pellet cracking model in three-dimensional simulations. The elastic-creep model predicts less stress within the sheath than the elastic model as expected.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME and The Crown
Topics: Stress , Nuclear fuels



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