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High Burn-up Spent Nuclear Fuel Transport Reliability Investigation

by Jy-an Wang, Hong Wang, Hao Jiang, Bruce B Bevard
Publication Type
Journal Name
Nuclear Engineering and Design
Publication Date
Page Numbers
497 to 515

Transportation packages for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) must meet safety requirements under normal and accident conditions as specified by federal regulations. During transportation, SNF experiences unique conditions and challenges to cladding integrity due to the vibrational and impact loading during road or rail shipment. Lacking SNF inertia induced dynamic fatigue data, especially the high burn-up (HBU) SNF systems, has brought significant challenges to the regulatory body and nuclear industry to quantify the SNF transport safety and reliability in confidence. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed SNF testing protocol without fuel pellets removal has provided significant insight regarding the dynamic pellet-cladding mechanical interaction effect. This research provides the detailed understanding on the loading rate and loading mode dependent fatigue damage evolution of HBU SNF system under normal conditions of transport (NCT). SNF static and dynamic experimental data were generated under simulated transportation environments using cyclic integrated reversible-bending fatigue tester (CIRFT), an enabling hot-cell testing technology developed at ORNL. SNFs flexural tensile strength and fatigue S-N data from pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactor (BWR) HBU SNFs are presented in this paper, including the potential effects of pellet-cladding interface bonding, hydride reorientation, and thermal annealing to SNF vibration reliability. These data can be used to meet the nuclear industry and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs in safety and security of SNF storage and transportation operations.