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Study on radial temperature distribution of aluminum dispersed nuclear fuels: U3O8-Al, U3Si2-Al, and UN-Al

[+] Author and Article Information
Jayangani I Ranasinghe

Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
jir520@mail.usask.ca

Ericmoore Jossou

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
ericmoore.jossou@usask.ca

Linu Malakkal

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
lim520@mail.usask.ca

Barbara Szpunar

Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
b.szpunar@usask.ca

Jerzy Szpunar

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
jerzy.szpunar@usask.ca

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039886 History: Received December 28, 2017; Revised March 23, 2018

Abstract

The understanding of the radial distribution of temperature in a fuel pellet, under normal operation and accident conditions, is important for a safe operation of a nuclear reactor. Therefore, in this study, we have solved the steady state heat conduction equation, to analyze the temperature profiles of a 12 mm diameter cylindrical dispersed nuclear fuels of U3O8-Al, U3Si2-Al, and UN-Al operating at 870 K. Moreover, we have also derived the thermal conductivity correlations as a function of temperature for U3Si2, UN, and Al. To evaluate the thermal conductivity correlations of U3Si2, UN, and Al we have used density functional theory (DFT) as incorporated in the Quantum ESPRESSO (QE) along with other codes such as Phonopy, ShengBTE, EPW, and BoltzTraP. However, for U3O8, we utilized the thermal conductivity correlation proposed by Pillai et al. Furthermore, the effective thermal conductivity of dispersed fuels with 5, 10, 15, 30 and 50 vol% respectively of dispersed fuel particle densities over the temperature range of 300 to 900 K was evaluated by Bruggman model. Additionally, the temperature profiles and temperature gradient profiles of the dispersed fuels were evaluated by solving the steady state heat conduction equation by using Maple code. This study not only predicts a reduction in the centerline temperature and temperature gradient in dispersed fuels but also reveals the maximum concentration of fissile material (U3O8, U3Si2, and UN) that can be incorporated in the Al matrix without the centerline melting.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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