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Multiphysics analysis of fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal susceptibility–Part 3: Thermal hydraulic evaluation of large break LOCA under high-burnup conditions

by Aaron J Wysocki, Jacob A Hirschhorn, Ian T Greenquist, Nathan A Capps
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Annals of Nuclear Energy
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Increasing the peak rod average burnup of pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel beyond 62 GWd/tU may increase fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal (FFRD) susceptibility during a large break loss of coolant accident (LBLOCA). TRACE thermal hydraulic (TH) LBLOCA analyses were performed for a realistic 24-month high-burnup PWR equilibrium cycle, to inform subsequent transient BISON high-burnup FFRD susceptibility evaluations. Realistic LBLOCA systems behavior was first established by configuring to and comparing with the BEMUSE OECD LBLOCA benchmark. Fuel and operating conditions were then applied from high-burnup VERA depletion calculations. LBLOCA simulations were performed for 281 selected high-burnup rods, for which transient TH boundary conditions were collected for later use in BISON. The TRACE results indicated that rod linear heat rate (rather than burnup) is the main predictor of peak cladding temperature (PCT) during the event. PCT typically occurred at a local burnup lower than the rod-average burnup, especially for twice-burned fuel.