Nuclear Science and Techniques

《核技术》(英文版) ISSN 1001-8042 CN 31-1559/TL     2019 Impact factor 1.556

Nuclear Science and Techniques ›› 2019, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 48 doi: 10.1007/s41365-019-0575-5

• NUCLEAR ENERGY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Neutronic analysis of silicon carbide cladding accident-tolerant fuel assemblies in pressurized water reactors

Zhi-Xiong Tan1 • Jie-Jin Cai1   

  1. 1 School of Electric Power, South China University of Technology, Guangdong 510640, China
  • Received:2018-03-03 Revised:2018-07-25 Accepted:2018-09-23
  • Contact: Jie-Jin Cai
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11675057) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2017ZD100).
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Zhi-Xiong Tan, Jie-Jin Cai. Neutronic analysis of silicon carbide cladding accident-tolerant fuel assemblies in pressurized water reactors.Nuclear Science and Techniques, 2019, 30(3): 48     doi: 10.1007/s41365-019-0575-5

Abstract: In resonance with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident lesson, a novel fuel design to enhance safety regarding severe accident scenarios has become increasingly appreciated in the nuclear power industry. This research focuses on analysis of the neutronic properties of a silicon carbide (SiC) cladding fuel assembly, which provides a greater safety margin as a type of accident-tolerant fuel for pressurized water reactors. The general physical performance of SiC cladding is explored to ascertain its neutronic performance. The neutron spectrum, accumulation of 239Pu, physical characteristics, temperature reactivity coefficient, and power distribution are analyzed. Furthermore, the influences of a burnable poison rod and enrichment are explored. SiC cladding assemblies show a softer neutron spectrum and flatter power distribution than conventional Zr alloy cladding fuel assemblies. Lower enrichment fuel is required when SiC cladding is adopted. However, the positive reactivity coefficient associated with the SiC material remains to be offset. The results reveal that SiC cladding assemblies show broad agreement with the neutronic performance of conventional Zr alloy cladding fuel. In the meantime, its unique physical characteristics can lead to improved safety and economy.

Key words: Accident-tolerant fuels, Silicon carbide cladding, Neutronic characteristics, Pressurized water reactor