Irradiation Behaviour of Thoria-Based Fuels
Different aspects of thorium fuel cycle have been studied for the development of thorium fuel-based Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) in India. In order to study the irradiation performance of thoria-based mixed oxide (MOX) fuels, short-length fuel pins assembled in two types of fuel clusters were irradiated in the pressurized water loop (PWL) of CIRUS reactor. Post irradiation examination (PIE) of the fuel pins from the two fuel clusters was carried out at the hot cells facility of BARC. Non-destructive examinations of the fuel pins from the cluster included visual examination, leak testing, fuel pin diameter measurement, ultrasonic testing, eddy current testing, gamma scanning and gamma spectrometry. Destructive examinations included fission gas analysis and microstructural examination. Microstructural characterization on the fuel samples was carried out using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, β-γ autoradiography and α-autoradiography techniques. Results of PIE show good performance of the fuel up to 18.5 GWd/t(HM) burn-up under irradiation. This paper presents the salient observations of the examinations carried out on the pins of the fuel clusters.
KeywordsThoria Mixed oxide fuel Post irradiation examination Microstructure Burn-up
The authors express their gratitude to all the colleagues in post irradiation examination division for their assistance in carrying out the hot cell activities. The authors would like to acknowledge the guidance provided by Shri D. N. Sah, Ex. Head, PIED, in preparation of the manuscript.
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