Assessment of Neutronic Characteristics of Accident-Tolerant Fuel and Claddings for CANDU Reactors Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The objective of this study was to evaluate accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) concepts being considered for CANDU reactors. Several concepts, including uranium dioxide/silicon carbide (UO2-SiC) composite fuel, dense fuels, microencapsulated fuels, and ATF cladding, were modelled in Serpent 2 to obtain reactor physics parameters, including important feedback parameters such as coolant void reactivity and fuel temperature coefficient. In addition, fuel heat transfer was modelled, and a simple accident model was tested on several ATF cases to compare with UO2. Overall, several concepts would require enrichment of uranium to avoid significant burnup penalties, particularly uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) and fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuels. In addition, none of the fuel types have a significant advantage over UO2 in terms of overall accident response or coping time, though U-9Mo fuel melts significantly sooner due to its low melting point. Instead, the different ATF concepts appear to have more modest advantages, such as reduced fission product release upon cladding failure, or reduced hydrogen generation, though a proper risk assessment would be required to determine the magnitude of these advantages to weigh against economic disadvantages. The use of uranium nitride (UN) enriched in N15 would increase exit burnup for natural uranium, providing a possible economic advantage depending on fuel manufacturing costs.

publication date

  • 2018