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Characterization of Fuel and Cladding In and Near the Pellet-Pellet Gap of a High-Burnup Pressurized Water Reactor Fuel Rod...

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
Proceedings of TopFuel 2021
Book Title
Proceedings of TopFuel 2021
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 10
Publisher Location
Brussels, Belgium
Conference Name
TopFuel 2021
Conference Location
Salandar, Spain
Conference Sponsor
European Nuclear Society
Conference Date

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is performing extensive destructive examinations of 15 high-burnup (HBU) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) rods from the North Anna Power Station (NAPS), which is operated by Dominion Energy Virginia [1]. The examinations are being conducted to obtain a baseline condition of the HBU rods before dry storage and are focused on understanding overall SNF rod strength and durability [2,3]. The HBU rods, referred to as sister rods or sibling rods, are similar to rods placed into dry storage at NAPS that are planned to be examined after one decade. The sister rods include several ZIRLO®-clad rods manufactured by Westinghouse Electric Company. One of the ZIRLO®-clad rods examined includes a pellet-pellet gap of 1 mm that was identified during the nondestructive examinations (NDEs) [4]. The rod was sectioned axially at that elevation to reveal the pellet-pellet interfaces and the pellet-pellet gap. The section was mounted and polished to reveal the distribution of hydride precipitates in the cladding above, below, and within the gap [5]. Total cladding hydrogen measurements will be performed to quantify the total cladding hydrogen through the gap and any additional in-solution or precipitated hydrogen in the pellet-pellet gap region