As a part of the US DOE-NE High Burnup Spent Fuel Data Project, ORNL is performing destructive examinations (DEs) of high burnup (>45 gigawatt days per metric ton uranium) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) rods from the North Anna Nuclear Power Station operated by Dominion Energy. The SNF rods, called the “sister rods,” are all HBU and include four different kinds of fuel rod cladding: standard Zircaloy-4, low-tin Zircaloy-4, ZIRLO®, and M5®. The DEs are being conducted to obtain a baseline of the HBU rod’s condition prior to dry storage and are focused on understanding overall SNF rod strength and durability. Both composite fuel and empty cladding are being tested. While the data generated can be used for multiple purposes, a primary goal for obtaining the post-irradiation examination data and the associated measured mechanical properties is to support SNF dry storage licensing and relicensing activities.
This report documents the status of the ORNL Phase 1 DE activities related to: rough segmentation, defueling, optical microscopy, and cladding total hydrogen measurements for 7 Phase 1 sister rods and outlines the DE tasks performed and the data collected to date. The results of these detailed examinations and others are summarized in the Sister Rod DE Status Report.