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Engineering Process-Zone Model for Evaluation of Structural Strength of Fuel Channel Annulus Spacers in CANDU Nuclear Reactors

[+] Author Affiliations
Douglas Scarth, Steven Xu, Cheng Liu

Kinectrics, Inc., Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. PVP2017-66194, pp. V06AT06A041; 15 pages
  • ASME 2017 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 6A: Materials and Fabrication
  • Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA, July 16–20, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5799-1
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The core of a CANDU(1) (CANada Deuterium Uranium) pressurized heavy water reactor consists of a lattice of either 390 or 480 horizontal Zr-Nb pressure tubes, depending on the reactor design. These pressure tubes contain the fuel bundles. Each pressure tube is surrounded by a Zircaloy calandria tube that operates at a significantly lower temperature. Fuel channel annulus spacers maintain the annular gap between the pressure tube and calandria tube throughout the operating life. To meet this design requirement, annulus spacers must have adequate structural strength to carry the interaction loads imposed between the pressure tube and calandria tube. Crush tests that have been performed on specimens from as-received and ex-service Inconel X-750 alloy spacers have demonstrated that the structural strength of Inconel X-750 spacers has degraded with operating time due to irradiation damage. There was a need for an engineering model to predict the future maximum load carrying capacity of the spacer coils for use in Fitness-for-Service evaluations of spacer structural integrity. An engineering process-zone model has been developed and used to analyze the spacer crush test results, and provide predictions of the Inconel X-750 spacer coil future maximum load carrying capacities. The engineering process-zone model is described in this paper. The process-zone model is based on the strip-yield approach of a process zone with a uniform restraining stress representing the fracture region that is surrounded by elastic material.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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