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Integral LOCA fragmentation test on high-burnup fuel...

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Nuclear Engineering and Design
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Increasing the fuel burnup limit in light water reactors is sought to enhance fuel cycle economics and requires establishing a technical basis. Experimental observations of severe fuel fragmentation under loss-of-coolant-accident conditions at Halden and Studsvik had raised the need for additional considerations during the development of this technical basis. These test data suggested that the burnup threshold for high burnup fuel fragmentation may be influenced by pre-transient power. Additional loss-of-coolant-accident test data is therefore valuable to complement these tests and enhance the current state of understating. Oak Ridge National Lab has developed the Severe Accident Test Station capable of examining the oxidation kinetics and accident response of irradiated fuel and cladding materials for design basis accident and beyond design basis accident scenarios. Severe Accident Test Station provides various temperature profiles, steam, and the thermal shock conditions necessary for integral loss of coolant accident testing, defueled oxidation quench testing, and high-temperature beyond design basis accident testing. Severe Accident Test Station has been successfully installed and demonstrated in the Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory at Oak Ridge National Lab. Furthermore, descriptions of the in-cell re-fabrication capabilities and assembly of the loss-of-coolant-accident test train are provided. Installation of the Severe Accident Test Station system and in-cell re-fabrication restores United States capability to examine postulated and extended loss-of-coolant-accident conditions on spent fuel and cladding and provides a platform for evaluating advanced fuel and accident-tolerant fuel cladding concepts. Lastly, three in-cell integral loss-of-coolant-accident test were performed in the Severe Accident Test Station and compared to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sponsored loss-of-coolant-accident test as well as the original loss-of-coolant-accident test performed at Argonne National Lab. The results of these tests as well as all publicly available integral loss-of-coolant-accident test were used to validate a threshold for high burnup fuel fragmentation.