On the Development of Tolerant Fuel --- a New Generation Fuel

Авторы: Sotnikov A.S. Опубликовано: 21.12.2021
Опубликовано в выпуске: #4(139)/2021  

DOI: 10.18698/0236-3941-2021-4-124-137

Раздел: Энергетическое машиностроение | Рубрика: Ядерные энергетические установки, топливный цикл, радиационная безопасность  
Ключевые слова: reactor core safety, fuel element cladding operation, zirconium alloys, silicon carbide, fragility, composite, tolerant fuel

The concept of tolerant fuel is considered as applied to water-cooled power reactors. The concept is based on eliminating the steam-zirconium reaction. For this, two work areas, i.e., using the physical and the thermodynamic barriers, were considered. Physical barrier presupposes exclusion of contact between water and zirconium, and the thermodynamic barrier (the most radical method) envisages replacement of the alloy containing zirconium with other materials inert to water when exposed to high temperature in the reactor core (∼ 1200 °C). Consequences of the most devastating accidents at the nuclear power plants in the world were discussed: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. The latest accident in Japan brought to the fore the concept of tolerant nuclear fuel, i.e., being resistant to accidents. Work orientation in creating the tolerant fuel is indicated. Main attention is paid to materials and technologies applied to tolerant fuel. General requirements to safety analysis of the reactor facility fuel system currently developed in the Russian Federation and abroad, as well as current safety criteria for fuel elements, under design-based accidents are presented. Procedure for calculating justification of the safety criteria fulfillment for fuel elements under design-basis accidents is briefly considered. Main characteristics of the new generation materials under development for reactor cores as applied to tolerant fuel are presented. Based on comparing the proposed materials as the tolerant fuel for the fuel element claddings, composite materials based on the heat-resistant SiC/SiC ceramic system could be recommended, and as far as fuel materials are concerned --- materials with increased density, uranium capacity and thermal conductivity values, i.e., nitride fuel and fuel made of uranium silicide


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