High-Temperature Plasticity of Oxide Nuclear Fuel
The oxide nuclear fuels based on UO2 are the subject of detailed studies because of their importance to both thermal and fast-reactor systems. Of particular technological interest is the plasticity of the fuel, inasmuch as it determines the magnitude of fuel swelling and, hence, the stresses induced in the metal cladding (outer fuel container). The amount of permanent deformation allowed in the cladding before the fuel element must be removed from the reactor is limited by both operational and safety considerations. Thus, if less force could be exerted by the fuel on the cladding, the useful lifetime of the fuel element could be increased. This realization has been the impetus for several research programs in both the U.S. and Europe designed to understand the plastic nature of nuclear fuels in a high-temperature, fissioning environment. The principal objective is to develop a plastic fuel that would fill the internal space provided without unduly stressing the cladding.
KeywordsFlow Stress Fuel Element Uranium Dioxide Strong Temperature Dependence Flow Strength
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