Multiphysics Modeling of Pressurized Water Reactor Fuel Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
Wang Zhu

School of Physics,
Sun Yat-Sen University,
Guangzhou 510275, China
e-mail: wangzh255@mail2.sysu.edu.cn

Zhang Chungyu

Sino-French Institute of
Nuclear Engineering and Technology,
Sun Yat-Sen University,
Zhuhai 519082, China
e-mail: zhangchy5@mail.sysu.edu.cn

Yuan Cenxi

Sino-French Institute of
Nuclear Engineering and Technology,
Sun Yat-Sen University,
Zhuhai 519082, China
e-mail: yuancx@mail.sysu.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 3, 2017; final manuscript received March 10, 2018; published online May 16, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Akos Horvath.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 4(3), 031008 (May 16, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1103; doi: 10.1115/1.4039848 History: Received September 03, 2017; Revised March 10, 2018

Nuclear fuel rods operate under complex radioactive, thermal, and mechanical conditions. Nowadays, fuel rod codes usually make great simplifications on analyzing the multiphysics behavior of fuel rods. The present study develops a three-dimensional (3D) module within the framework of a general-purpose finite element solver, i.e., abaqus, for modeling the major physics of the fuel rods. A typical fuel rod, subjected to stable operations and transient conditions, is modeled. The results show that the burnup levels have an important influence on the thermomechanical behavior of fuel rods. The swelling of fission products causes a dramatically increasing strain of pellets. The variation of the stress and the radial displacement of the cladding along the axial direction can be reasonably predicted. It is shown that a quick power ramp or a reactivity insertion accident can induce high tensile stress in the outer regime of the pellet and may cause further fragmentation to the pellets. Fission products migration effects and differential thermal expansion become more severe if there are flaws or imperfections on the pellet.

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Fig. 1

Radial distribution of (a) power factor and (b) local burnup at different average burnups

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Fig. 2

3D finite element model of a simplified rod

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Fig. 3

(a) Temperature versus burnup at the pellet center, pellet outer surface, and cladding inner wall and (b) Predicted radial swelling in the middle of the pellet under different burnups

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Fig. 4

Stress and radial displacement of the cladding along the axial direction

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Fig. 5

Evolution of the temperature of the cladding outer surface in RIAs

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Fig. 6

The maximum principal stress and strain of the pellets at 0.12 s

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Fig. 7

Geometry of defective pellet modeled in the current study

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Fig. 8

Comparison of the radial temperature of the perfect pellet surface (PPS) and the MPS

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Fig. 9

Distribution of the heat flow of (a) pellet and (b) cladding

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Fig. 10

Strain profile comparisons between the MPS and the PPS

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Fig. 11

The contour of (a) the von Mises stress and (b) the maximum principal strain of the cladding adjacent to the defect



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