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Chapter 9.

Thermal Performance
9.1. Introduction..............................................................................................................2
9.2. The Fission Heat Generation...............................................................................2
9.2.1. Energy Release from fission................................................................................2
9.2.2. Fuel Burnup.........................................................................................................3
9.3. Fission Heat Removal............................................................................................4
9.3.1. Heat Conduction in the Fuel...............................................................................4
9.3.2. Heat Transfer Resistances...................................................................................7
Gap Closure.................................................................................................................8
9.. !"ial Temperature Profile....................................................................................10
9.#. Thermal Conductivit$...........................................................................................12
9..1. Thermal Conducti!ity in "orous #$ide...........................................................12
9..2.Thermal Conducti!ity %ariation &ith Temperature.......................................14
9.%. Thermal &ar'ins and (perational )imits.......................................................14
9.'.1. The (#C)..........................................................................................................15
9.'.2. *eparture from nucleate +oiling......................................................................15
9.'.3. Cladding Temperature (imits..........................................................................16
9.'., -tored Energy......................................................................................................17
Pro*lems.........................................................................................................................17
References......................................................................................................................20
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
9.1. Introduction
One o$ the %ost i%&ortant $actors in designing n!clear &o'er &lants is the calc!lation o$
the &o'er &rod!ced in the core and its re%o(al )* the coolant. +o that end, coolant is
circ!lated thro!gh the core and heat $lo's $ro% the $!el rods to the coolant, 'hich
e-&eriences a te%&erat!re rise as it &asses thro!gh the core, as e-&lained in .ha&ter 1.
/ince the heat is generated inside the $!el rods, te%&erat!re gradients are esta)lished
inside the rods that ena)le the heat to $lo' o!t'ards $ro% the rods to the coolant, 'hich
res!lts in a te%&erat!re &ro$ile 'ithin the rods. +his te%&erat!re &ro$ile has a strong
in$l!ence on the %echanical &ro&erties, on the %icrostr!ct!re e(ol!tion !nder irradiation
and on corrosion &rocesses occ!rring in the $!el and the cladding. +h!s, a so!nd
!nderstanding o$ the $actors go(erning the te%&erat!re distri)!tion 'ithin a reactor $!el
ele%ent is essential to &redicting its &er$or%ance d!ring reactor e-&os!re.
0oth the high te%&erat!res and the stee& te%&erat!re gradients are i%&ortant $or
&redicting $!el ele%ent &er$or%ance. +he temperature controls &rocesses s!ch as grain1
gro'th, densi$ication, $ission &rod!ct di$$!sion in the $!el and radiation da%age
acc!%!lation, and corrosion rates in the $!el cladding. +he te%&erat!re gradients in the
$!el ca!se &ore %igration and $or%ation o$ the central (oid, ca!se ther%al stresses or $!el
crac2ing, and &ellet1cladding interaction. 3n the cladding, te%&erat!re gradients ca!se
h*dride ri% $or%ation and o(erall h*drogen redistri)!tion.
+he to&ic o$ this cha&ter is the ther%al &er$or%ance o$ the $!el rod and the core. +his
incl!des a calc!lation o$ the te%&erat!re distri)!tion in the $!el rod and in the core, and
its change 'ith reactor e-&os!re. +he ther%al %argins and accident conditions are also
)rie$l* disc!ssed.
9.2. Fission Heat Generation
4!clear energ* is generated in light1'ater reactors )* the $ission o$ !rani!% ind!ced )*
a)sor&tion o$ ne!trons. +he $ission o$ the !rani!% ato% s&lits it into t'o s%aller &arts
5the $ission &rod!cts6, and releases t'o to three energetic ne!trons 5a(erage energ* 7 2
Me86, as 'ell as other &articles s!ch as )etas, ga%%as and ne!trinos. +he ne!trons
released in the $ission reaction ca!se $issions in other n!clei, a &rocess called fission
chain reaction.
9.2.1. Energy Release from fission
+he o(erall energ* release in a single $ission reaction is 200 Me8, a)o!t "09 o$ 'hich is
de&osited in the $!el &ellet. ltho!gh e(er* n!clide in the trans!ranic region can )e
$issioned i$ eno!gh energ* is i%&arted to it, the $ission cross1section $or certain fissile
n!clides 5:1233, :1235, ;!123", ;!12416 is greatl* increased i$ the ne!tron energ* is
red!ced to (al!es close to the ther%al energ* 57 0.025 e8 at reactor te%&erat!re6. 3n
ther%al reactors 5s!ch as the light 'ater reactors considered in this )oo26, this energ*
red!ction is achie(ed )* &assing the ne!tron $l!- thro!gh a moderator 5'ater6 'hich
ca!ses the ne!trons to lose energ* )* s!ccessi(e collisions !ntil the* are in ther%al
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
e<!ili)ri!% 'ith their s!rro!ndings. +o ens!re that criticalit* 5a $ission chain reaction at a
constant rate6 can occ!r 'ith ther%al ne!trons, nat!ral !rani!% is enriched to a larger
&ercentage o$ the isoto&e :1235 53159 in c!rrent reactors6.
3n &arallel 'ith ne!tron1ind!ced $ission, ne!tron a)sor&tion can occ!r in !rani!%,
ca!sing transuranic 5hea(ier than !rani!%6 ele%ents to )e $or%ed. O$ chie$ i%&ortance
a%ong these is ;!123", 'hich $or%s directl* )* ne!tron a)sor&tion in :1238 $ollo'ed )*
)eta deca*. +his creates another $issile isoto&e 'hich contri)!tes to the $ission rate. 3n
&arallel 'ith the de&letion o$ :1235, ;!123" is created $ro% :1238 so that at the end o$
the $!el residence ti%e in the reactor, !& to one third o$ the reactor energ* is &rod!ced )*
&l!toni!% $ission. 4ot all the $issile %aterial 5: and ;!6 is !sed )* the ti%e the $!el is
re%o(ed $ro% the reactor, so it is also &ossi)le to reprocess the s&ent $!el to e-tract :
and ;! to $a)ricate %i-ed1o-ide $!el 5MO=6, 'hich consists o$ 5:,;!6O2.
+h!s, there are (ario!s so!rces o$ heat in a reactor core> $ast $ission o$ :1238, ther%al
$ission o$ :1235 and ;!123", and the radioacti(e deca* o$ $ission &rod!cts. +he last ter%
is i%&ortant in loss1o$1coolant accident scenarios, since sh!tting do'n the $ission chain
reaction does not eli%inate this heat so!rce and cooling needs to )e &ro(ided to a(oid
$!el da%age 5see cha&ter 286. ?o'e(er, d!ring nor%al o&eration the %ost signi$icant heat
generation ter% is ther%al $ission in :1235 and ;!123" 5the $ast $ission rate is a $e'
&ercent that o$ ther%al $ission6.
+he $irst ste& in calc!lating the te%&erat!re &ro$ile is to calc!late the rate o$ heat
&rod!ction )* n!clear reactions, %ostl* n!clear $ission. 3$ 'e consider a $!el ele%ent at
the )eginning o$ li$e, containing enriched !rani!% and ta2e ther%al $ission in :1235 to
)e the do%inant heat &rod!ction %echanis%, the $ission rate is gi(en )*
3
5 # 6
f f f U f
F fission cm s N qN
&
'here f is the %acrosco&ic ther%al $ission cross section 5c%
11
6, is the ther%al ne!tron
$l!- 5n.c%
12
.s
11
6, Nf is the $issile ato% densit* 5$issile ato%#c%
3
6, f the ther%al $ission
cross section 5)arn6, q is the enrich%ent 5$issile ato% densit*#!rani!% densit*6 , and NU is
the !rani!% densit* 5ato%#c%
3
6. +he theoretical ato% densit* in !rani!% dio-ide is 2.5-
10
22
ato%#c%
3
, 'hile the ther%al $ission cross1section $or :1235 is 7 550 )arn.
9.2.2. Fuel Burnup
+he ter% burnup indicates the degree o$ !sage o$ the $!el altho!gh it clearl* has nothing
to do 'ith )!rning )!t rather 'ith $issioning. +here are three co%%on %eas!res o$ the
integrated a%o!nt o$ irradiation to 'hich the $!el has )een s!)@ected. +he $irst is the
$ission densit* gi(en )*
3
0
5 6 A # B
t
F F t dt Ft fission cm

& &
$or a constant $ission rate. +he second is the $ractional )!rn!& gi(en )*
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
n!%)er o$ $issions
initial n!%)er o$ !rani!% ato%s
U
F
N

Cinall*, the )!rn!& can )e gi(en as the n!%)er o$ %ega'atts da*s o$ ther%al energ*
released )* a $!el containing one %etric ton o$ !rani!%. +he 200 Me8 released in each
$ission corres&onds to 0."5 MW.da* &er gra% $issioned. +h!s
6 5
A # B 0."5 10 ".5 10 A9B MWd MTU
t the end o$ li$e, $!el )!rn!& !sed to )e a)o!t 39, and th!s a&&ro-i%atel* e<!al to
30,000 MWd#Mt: (erage $!el discharge )!rn!&s ha(e )een increasing $or the &ast t'o
decades, no' reaching o(er 50,000 MWd#ton $or &ress!riDed 'ater reactors and
a&&roaching that (al!e $or )oiling 'ater reactors A1B. +he 4!clear Reg!lator*
.o%%ission has esta)lished a li%it o$ 62,500 MWd#ton. .!rrent e$$orts e-ist to certi$*
$!el $or higher )!rn!&s, as disc!ssed in .ha&ter 28.
9.3. Fission Heat Removal
+he ther%al design o$ a $!el ele%ent is constrained )* (ario!s li%its. 3t is necessar* to
sta* 'ell )elo' the $!el and the cladding %elting te%&erat!res at all ti%es. 3t is also
desira)le to increase as %!ch as &ossi)le the coolant o!tlet te%&erat!re $ro% the core to
%a-i%iDe ther%al e$$icienc*. 3t is !ndesira)le to ha(e large te%&erat!re gradients in the
$!el ele%ents, as that leads to a (ariet* o$ iss!es, as %entioned a)o(e. +hese constraints
'o!ld dictate a $!el 'ith high ther%al cond!cti(it* and high %elting &oint. +his is
achie(a)le 'ith %etallic $!els, 'hose ther%al cond!cti(ities are %!ch higher than that o$
:O2. ?o'e(er, 'hile %etallic $!els e-hi)it serio!s di%ensional insta)ilities !nder
irradiation 5.h.276, !rani!% dio-ide t!rns o!t to )e a re%ar2a)l* sta)le $!el %atri-> it
can !ndergo ther%al c*cling, can 'ithstand se(ere a%o!nts o$ radiation da%age and can
acco%%odate 'ithin its lattice the $ission &rod!cts and trans!ranic ato%s &rod!ced
d!ring irradiation. +he %elting te%&erat!re o$ !rani!% dio-ide is in the te%&erat!re
range 280012865E., as sho'n in the &hase diagra% in .ha&ter 2.
9.3.1. Heat Conduction in the Fuel
+he re%o(al o$ heat $ro% the c*lindrical $!el ele%ent occ!rs in the radial direction,
thro!gh a series o$ heat resistances, )* cond!ction and con(ection. +he heat trans$er
geo%etr* is sho'n in Cig!re ".1.
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
Figure 9.1. The heat transfer geometry in a nuclear fuel rod
?eat is generated in the $!el &ellet radi!s R and $lo's radiall* thro!gh the $!el, the &ellet1
cladding ga&, and the cladding itsel$ to reach the coolant. 0eca!se the a-ial te%&erat!re
(ariation is relati(el* s%all, and there is little aDi%!thal te%&erat!re (ariation, the stead*1
state heat cond!ction e<!ation is 'ritten as>
1
FFF 0
F
d dT
r q
r dr dr

_
+

,
'here T is the te%&erat!re, r the radial &osition in the &ellet, F is the $!el ther%al
cond!cti(it* and
FFF q
is the (ol!%etric heat generation rate 5W#c%
3
6 gi(en )*
11 3
FFF 3.2 10 A # B
F
q FE F W cm


& &
'here EF is the energ* de&osited in the $!el &ellet 'ith each $ission 5a)o!t 180 Me86.
G<!ation ass!%es a heat generation rate that is inde&endent o$ r and o$ T 5this is not
strictl* tr!e, )eca!se o$ sel$1shielding, and other $l!- gradient e$$ects.6 3$ the (ariation o$
FFF q
'ith r is 2no'n, an a(erage (ol!%etric heat generation rate
FFF q
can )e calc!lated.
One !se$!l <!antit* is the linear heat generation rate (Wcm! o)tained )*
2
F FFF q R q
G<!ation can )e sol(ed i$ t'o )o!ndar* conditions are s&eci$ied. +hese are>
5 6
F"
T R T
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
TFC
TF" TC"
TW TC#
R
R$tgap
R$tgap$ tC
0
0
r
dT
dr

'here TF" is the $!el s!r$ace te%&erat!re .


3ntegrating e<!ation t'ice 'e o)tain
2
1 2
FFF
5 6 ln
4
F"
F
q r
T r T C r C

+ +
&&l*ing the )o!ndar* conditions>
2 2 2
2 2
FFF F
5 6 1 1
4 4
F"
F F
q R r q r
T r T
R R
_ _


, ,
or
2
2
5 6
1
F"
FC F"
T r T r
T T R

'here
F"
T
is the $!el &ellet s!r$ace te%&erat!re and TFC is the $!el centerline te%&erat!re.
+h!s a parabolic te%&erat!re &ro$ile is esta)lished 'hene(er heat generation in the
(ol!%e is ho%ogeno!s. +he e<!i(alent $or%s o$ e<!ation $or &late and s&here geo%etr*
are res&ecti(el*>
2 2
2
2 2
2
FFF
5 6 1 $or &late
2
FFF
5 6 1 $or s&here
6
F"
F
F"
F
q % &
T r T
%
q R r
T r T
R

_


,
_


,
'here % is the &late hal$1thic2ness and R is the radi!s o$ the s&here.
Cro% e<!ation it $ollo's that the linear &o'er at a gi(en a-ial &osition is gi(en )*
F 5 64
FC F" F
q T T
+his heat $l!- $lo's $ro% the $!el thro!gh the $!el1cladding ga& and thro!gh the cladding
and into the coolant. ?eat trans$er thro!gh the cladding is achie(ed )* cond!ction.
ltho!gh heat trans$er thro!gh the ga& occ!rs thro!gh a gas, no $lo' or con(ecti(e
e$$ects e-ist. s a res!lt the &rocess can )e tho!ght o$ as one o$ cond!ction 'ith
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
gap gap gap
h t
. 'here is the ga& thic2ness and
gap
h
the con(ecti(e heat trans$er
coe$$icient in the ga&.
/ol(ing the heat trans$er e<!ations $or the cladding 'e $ind that the te%&erat!re dro&
thro!gh these t'o hollo' c*linders is gi(en )*
lnA5 6 # B
F
2
gap
F" C#
gap
R t R
T T q
'
+

lnA5 6 #5 6B
F
2
gap C gap
C# C"
C
R t t R t
T T q

+ + +

'here
C#
T
is the cladding inner radi!s te%&erat!re,
C"
T
is the cladding o!ter radi!s
te%&erat!re,
C

is the cladding ther%al cond!cti(it* and tC is the cladding 'all thic2ness.


?eat trans$er $ro% the cladding s!r$ace to the coolant is achie(ed )* con(ection.
F
5 6
C" W
q
T T
h

'here TW is the )!l2 coolant te%&erat!re and h is the con(ecti(e heat trans$er coe$$icient
)et'een the cladding 'all and the coolant, gi(en $or e-a%&le )* the Ditt!s10oelter
relation A2B.
3$
gap
t R <<
then
2 5 6
2 5 6
F 5 64 5 6
lnA5 6 # B
gap F" C#
C C# C"
FC F" F C" W
gap C
' R T T
T T
q T T h T T
t R t R




+
9.3.2. Heat Transfer Resistances
:sing the 'ell12no'n electric analog*, 'e can 'rite that the te%&erat!re di$$erence +
5analogo!s to (oltage6, esta)lished thro!gh a %aterial 'ith a certain ther%al resistance R
5analogo!s to resisti(it*6 creates a heat $l!- q( 5analogo!s to electric c!rrent6 gi(en )*
F
T
q

+he resistances are all in series, s!ch that the total ther%al resistance in going $ro%
the centerline o$ the $!el to the coolant is gi(en )* the s!% o$ the indi(id!al resistances.
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
1 1 1
ln
4 2 2 2 5 6
gap
C
i
F gap C C
t
R t
R R t h
+ 1
+ + +
1
+
]

Cor the case o$ the $!el rod 'hen the ga& is closed 5tgap)0 and th!s TF")TC#6 then e<!ation
is 'ritten>
F
1 1 1
ln
4 2 2 2 5 6
FC W
gap
C
F gap C C
T T
q
t
R t
R R R t h

+ 1
+ + +
1
+
]
'here TW is the cooling 'ater te%&erat!re, h is the con(ection coe$$icient $ro% the clad
to the coolant, and tC and C are the cladding thic2ness and ther%al cond!cti(it*.
Gap Closure
+he change in ga& 'idth !&on $!el and cladding e-&ansion is gi(en )*
hot cold
gap gap gap c
t t t R R
'here Rc is the change in cladding radi!s and R is the change in $!el radi!s 'ith
te%&erat!re. 3t can )e sho'n 5see &ro)le% ".16 that the radial s'elling strain o$ the $!el
'hen a &ara)olic &ro$ile is &resent is gi(en )*
5 6
FR F fab
R
T T
R


'here
T
is the a(erage $!el te%&erat!re and Tfab is the $!el $a)rication te%&erat!re and
F is the coe$$icient o$ ther%al e-&ansion o$ :O2 . +he corres&onding s'elling increase
$or the cladding is a&&ro-i%atel* e<!al to
5 6
c
c c fab
c
R
T T
R


+h!s the change in ga& 'idth !&on heating is gi(en )*
5 6 5 6
hot cold
gap gap gap c c c fab F F fab
t t t R T T R T T
3$ an additional strain $ro% $!el $ission gas s'elling occ!rs, it can )e inserted in the
e<!ation a)o(e.
G-a%&le ".1> .alc!lation o$ a C!el Rod +e%&erat!re ;ro$ile
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
We can no' e(al!ate the te%&erat!re &ro$ile $or a t*&ical $!el rod. +he &ro&erties listed
in ta)le ".1 can )e !sed $or this &!r&oseH
+a)le ".1. +her%al &ro&erties o$ $!el %aterials
Material (gcm
*
! Cp (+g,! (Wm,! (,
-.
!
U/0 .1234 12**1 * .256&.1
-6
7ircalo8 926 12*6 .: 6-.1&.1
-9
"teel 421 126 .: 329&.1
-9
Cor this calc!lation 'e ass!%e
TW)310E.
q(I15000 W#%
hI20000 W#%
2
J
C!el &ellet radi!s RI0.5 c%
C!el cladding thic2ness tCI 0.06 c%
Ka& 'idth tgapI 0.03 c%
$ro% this 'e calc!late the te%&erat!re dro&s in each resistance>
Cro% the coolant )!l2 thro!gh the coolant $il% to the cladding 'allI 21.3 E.
+hro!gh the cladding thic2ness I 15." E.
3n the $!el1cladding ga&I 4.7 E.
Cro% the o!ter s2in to the centerline o$ the $!el &elletI1250 E.
Ki(en the a)o(e, the $!el centerline te%&erat!re is 1602 E..
+his is sho'n as the )l!e c!r(e in Cig!re ".2. 3t is clear that the greatest contri)!tor to the
increase in centerline te%&erat!re is the te%&erat!re rise in the $!el, )!t the ga& can ha(e
a signi$icant i%&act as 'ell. +his is ill!strated )* 2ee&ing all &ara%eters the sa%e, 'hile
s!)stit!ting -enon $or heli!%. s )!rn!& increases, -enon gas is released into the $!el1
cladding ga& degrading its ther%al cond!cti(it*. 3$ the -enon cond!cti(it* o$ 0.007565
W#%J is !sed instead o$ that o$ heli!%, 'e o)tain a te%&erat!re dro& in the ga& o$ "4.7
E. 5an increase o$ al%ost 100 E.6, leading to a centerline te%&erat!re o$ 16"1 E. 5red
c!r(e6. ll other $actors )eing e<!al, e(er* te%&erat!re rise in the coolant 'ill ca!se a
corres&onding te%&erat!re rise in the centerline te%&erat!re.
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
Figure 9.2 +e%&erat!re ;ro$ile in a $!el rod 5see e-a%&le ".16
9.. !"ial Temperature Profile
ltho!gh the %ost signi$icant te%&erat!re (ariation is in the radial direction it is also
i%&ortant to calc!late the a-ial te%&erat!re (ariation. +he a-ial &o'er distri)!tion can )e
'ritten as
F5 6 F cos
o
core
;
q ; q
<
_


,
'here qo( is the linear generation rate at the centerline o$ the core, and <core) ;outlet-;inlet is
the height o$ the core.
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
C!el rod
.oolant
C!el cladding
Ka&
0!l2 .oolant
+e%&erat!re
3n addition to a radial te%&erat!re &ro$ile 'ithin the $!el rods, an a-ial te%&erat!re
&ro$ile also e-ists, created )* the co%)ination o$ an a-ial $ission rate &ro$ile and )* the
changing te%&erat!re o$ the coolant as it &asses thro!gh the core, starting o!t cold and
lea(ing hot. +his te%&erat!re &ro$ile can )e e(al!ated !sing a heat )alance on the
coolant. +he o(erall rise in te%&erat!re o$ the coolant is s!$$icient to re%o(e the heat
generated )* n!clear $ission.
Cig.".3>
Cor the ele%ent o$ coolant sho'n in Cig!re ".3, the enthal&* o$ the $l!id entering the
ele%ent is
5 6
pW W ref
=C T T
'here =
#
rods
m N &
is the %ass $lo' rate associated 'ith one $!el rod,
pW
C
is the
s&eci$ic heat o$ 'ater, and
ref
T
is a re$erence 'ater te%&erat!re. :&on e-iting the control
(ol!%e, the enthal&* increase o$ the 'ater is
W
pW
dT
=C d;
d;
t stead*1state this increase is e<!al to the energ* &rod!ced in the $!el section o$ the
control (ol!%e
F
W
pW
dT
=C d; q d;
d;

ss!%ing no radial $l!- (ariation, an energ* )alance in the coolant gi(es
5 6 F5 6
outlet
inlet
;
pW outlet inlet
;
=C T T q ; d;

'here
=
is the core %ass $lo' rate in 52g#s6, Cp is the coolant s&eci$ic heat 5L#2gE.6,
Tinlet and Toutlet are the inlet and o!tlet coolant te%&erat!res. 3nserting e<!ation into
e<!ation and integrating to a height D instead o$ to the to& o$ the core 'ill *ield the
te%&erat!re o$ the coolant at height D.
F
5 6 sin 1
inlet o core
W W
pW core
q < ;
T ; T
=C <

1 _
+ +
1
1 , ]
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
s e-&ected the highest te%&erat!re occ!rs at the o!tlet.
9.#. Thermal Conductivit$
+he heat cond!ction e<!ations deri(ed a)o(e a&&l* onl* 'hen the ther%al cond!cti(it* is
constant 5does not de&end on te%&erat!re, che%istr* or $!el %icrostr!ct!re6. +his section
disc!sses the ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ the $!el rod constit!ent %aterials, 5es&eciall* the
$!el6, their (ariation 'ith te%&erat!re, co%&osition and )!rn!& and the %ethods !sed to
ta2e these (ariations into acco!nt. 0eca!se %ost o$ these (ariations occ!r in the $!el, the
ne-t sections disc!ss $!el ther%al cond!cti(it*. 3n the as1$a)ricated $!el the ther%al
cond!cti(it* de&ends on %an* &ara%eters, as disc!ssed in the $ollo'ing s!)1sections.
Cor the cladding the ther%al cond!cti(it* is %ost strongl* a$$ected )* the $or%ation o$
the o!ter 'all o-ide 5as disc!ssed in cha&ter 226.
+he ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ the $!el, ga& and cladding is essential to deter%ining the
te%&erat!re distri)!tion and transient ther%al res&onse o$ the $!el rod. +he ther%al
cond!cti(it* o$ the $!el also deter%ines the a%o!nt o$ stored heat in the $!el 'hich is a
conse<!ence o$ the large gradients that ha(e to )e esta)lished order $or the heat to $lo'
o!t at stead* state.
9..1. Thermal Conducti!ity in "orous #$ide
When !rani!% dio-ide is $a)ricated )* sintering 5see cha&ter 166 it is &ossi)le to control
the sintering conditions so that the &ores initiall* &resent are eli%inated to (ar*ing
degrees d!ring the sintering &rocess, res!lting in a solid 'ith less than the ideal
theoretical densit* o$ 10."5 g#c%
3
. +he &resence o$ the &ores allo's $or $ree s&ace to
acco%%odate $ission gases, th!s red!cing s'elling. ?o'e(er, the e$$ect o$ those &ores is
to di%inish the o(erall ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ the %aterial. 3n addition, d!ring
irradiation &orosit* de(elo&s in the $or% o$ )!))les and (oids 'hose distri)!tion (aries
'ith radi!s, linear &o'er and 'ith )!rn!&.
3t is then necessar* to e(al!ate the ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ the co%&osite %aterial, 'hich
is done in the $ollo'ing
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
Cig!re ".4. Keo%etr* $or anal*sis o$ e$$ect o$ &ores on ther%al cond!cti(it* A3B
.onsider a ho%ogeno!s distri)!tion o$ c!)e1sha&ed &ores. We can then de$ine a M!nit
cell o$ (ol!%e associated 'ith each &ore, as sho'n in Cig!re ".4. 3$ 'e consider that heat
$lo' occ!rs along the * direction, then t'o &ath'a*s e-ist $or the heat to trans(erse the
c!)e> thro!gh the M&ore t!)eN, or aro!nd it. .learl* 'hen going aro!nd the &ore, the
ther%al cond!cti(it* 'ill )e that o$ the dense :O2 'hile going thro!gh the t!)e the
ther%al cond!cti(it* 'ill )e a co%&osite o$ &ore and !rani!% dio-ide. +he o(erall
cond!cti(it* is then
2
51 6
F > U/ > tube
f f +
'here f; is the $raction o$ cross sectional area &er&endic!lar to heat $lo' occ!&ied )* the
&ore. Gach t!)e consists o$ a s<!are &illar cond!ctit* o$ dense :O2 and o$ a &ore. +he
$raction occ!&ied )* the &ore in the t!)e is ftube. +hen the e$$ecti(e cond!cti(it* o$ the
t!)e is
2
51 6 1
>tube >tube
tube pore U/
f f

+
0* s!)stit!ting into 'e o)tain
2
2
2
1 5 # 6
51 6
1 A51 6 # B5 # 6
pore U/
F > U/
tube tube pore U/
f
f f



1

1
+
1
]
2
2
5 # 6
51 6 1
pore U/
F > U/
tube
f
f


1

1
]
4ote that the &orosit* pF is gi(en )*
F p tube
p f f
Cor c!)ic &ores
2# 3
p F
f p
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
1# 3
tube F
f p
2
2
2# 3
1# 3
5 # 6
51 6 1
pore U/
F F U/
F
p
p


1

1
]
Cor the case 'here the
pore

is OO
2
U/

then
2
2# 3
51 6
F F U/
p
9..2.Thermal Conducti!ity %ariation &ith Temperature
+he integration o$ e<!ation 'as &er$or%ed ass!%ing that the ther%al cond!cti(it* is
inde&endent o$ the radial &osition r. 3n $act the ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ :O2 (aries
signi$icantl* 'ith te%&erat!re A3B 'hich in t!rn (aries %ar2edl* 'ith radial &osition.
Cor e-a%&le an e%&irical $it o$ data has gi(en the $ollo'ing e<!ation $or ther%al
cond!cti(it* o$ :O2
C
1
0.0130 A # . B
50.038 0.45 6
F
W cm C
p T
+
+
o
+o ta2e into acco!nt the de&endence o$ ther%al cond!cti(it* 'ith te%&erat!re it 'o!ld
then )e necessar* to sol(e the heat cond!ction e<!ations 'ith
2
U/

)eing $5+6. +his 'o!ld


nor%all* )e done )* n!%erical %ethods.
9.%. Thermal &ar'ins and (perational )imits
n!clear reactor is di$$erent $ro% con(entional &o'er &lants in that )eca!se o$ the need
to a(oid $!el da%age, the o&erational constraints are on the ma&imum te%&erat!re in the
core, rather than on the a(erage te%&erat!re. Reactor o&erational conditions de&end )oth
on the %a-i%!% allo'a)le $!el rod te%&erat!re 5centerline te%&erat!re6 and the
%a-i%!% allo'a)le cladding te%&erat!re. 0eca!se the ne!tron $l!- and coolant
te%&erat!re (ar* a-iall* and radiall* thro!gh the core, so do the $!el rod te%&erat!res.
+o )ase the nor%al o&eration li%its on the highest %a-i%!% te%&erat!re the* ha(e to )e
calc!lated $or the hottest channel.
+he &o'er &ro$iles that gi(e rise to the te%&erat!re &ro$ile can )e characteriDed !sing the
&o'er &ea2ing $actor
5 6 F5 6
5 6 F5 6
r q r
>F
r q r


3t is necessar* to set ther%al li%its and to ens!re that the reactor does not e-ceed those
d!ring nor%al o&eration or accident conditions. 3n light1'ater reactors the accidents o$
greatest concern 5those associated 'ith the greatest &otential $or $!el da%age6 are those in
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
'hich the te%&erat!re o$ the $!el is raised )e*ond acce&ta)le li%its, either 5i6 thro!gh the
&rod!ction o$ e-cessi(e &o'er 5as in a reacti(it* initiated accident, .ha&ter 286 or 5ii6
ha(ing too little coolant, as in a loss o$ coolant accident 5LO.6.
9.'.1. The (oss/of/Coolant )ccident 0(#C)1
+he loss o$ coolant accident is a design1)asis accident in light 'ater reactors. +he
&ost!lated accident re<!ired $or anal*sis is a g!illotine )rea2 in a %ain &ri%ar* coolant
&i&e, allo'ing coolant to $reel* discharge o!t o$ the &ri%ar* s*ste% into the contain%ent
)!ilding. 3n that e(ent, altho!gh the control rods sh!t do'n the reactor, &o'er contin!es
to )e &rod!ced )* the deca* heat o$ the $ission &rod!cts. t stead*1state, this a%o!nts to
a&&ro-i%atel* 109 o$ the $!ll1&o'er ther%al o!t&!t o$ the reactor, 'hich $or a t*&ical
1000MWe reactor a%o!nts to 7 300 MW. 3n addition, so%e energ* is stored in the core
$ro% the te%&erat!re gradients necessar* to ens!re heat $lo'. +he co%)ination o$ deca*
heat and stored heat distri)!tion can ca!se the cladding te%&erat!re to rise a)o(e
acce&ta)le li%its i$ not eno!gh e%ergenc* cooling is s!&&lied. 3n the case o$ loss o$
cooling, the cladding te%&erat!re can rise a)o(e acce&ta)le li%its. +h!s, it is necessar*
to ens!re that the reactor contin!es to )e cooled. +he G%ergenc* .ore .ooling /*ste%
5G../6 then in@ects 'ater into the core, allo'ing the cladding te%&erat!re to re%ain lo'
and a(oiding $!el $ail!re.
Figure 9.. .ladding to 'ater heat $l!- as a $!nction o$ te%&erat!re
3$ $or so%e reason there is a $ail!re to deli(er ade<!ate core cooling, there is a %is%atch
)et'een &o'er &rod!ced and heat re%o(ed, the cladding te%&erat!re rises, as does the
te%&erat!re o$ 'ater#stea% %i-t!re that $or%s. +he heat $l!- in s!ch a sit!ation is sho'n
in Cig!re ".5. s the te%&erat!re o$ the 'ater#stea% %i-t!re rises, the heat $l!- initiall*
also rises, d!e to the high degree o$ n!cleate )oiling that occ!rs, as a higher rate o$
)!))le generation ca!ses i%&ro(ed %i-ing and %ore e$$icient heat trans$er. +h!s in the
$irst region the heat trans$er coe$$icient increases as the increased %i-ing &rod!ced )* the
)!))les ca!ses %ore e$$icient heat trans$er.
9.'.2. *eparture from nucleate +oiling
s the te%&erat!re o$ the cladding increases the )!))le densit* increases !ntil the
)!))les coalesce and a contin!o!s $il% is $or%ed. Once that occ!rs 5&oint c6, the heat
$l!- is se(erel* decreased as the heat trans$er coe$$icient o$ stea% is %!ch lo'er than that
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
o$ 'ater. +his de&art!re $ro% n!cleate )oiling 5D406 occ!rs at a critical heat $l!- qc( and
can ha(e se(ere conse<!ences $or the $!el. +o a(oid reaching the critical heat $l!-,
ther%al %argins are esta)lished. ccording to e<!ation , the &ea2ing $actor in the hottest
channel needs to )e s!ch that the heat $l!- in the hottest channel is lo'er than the critical
heat $l!- )* a sa$et* %argin in nor%al o&eration, as ill!strated in Cig!re ".6.
Figure 9.'. 3ll!stration o$ D40 li%its
+he De&art!re $ro% 4!cleate 0oiling Ration 5D40R6 is then a !se$!l %eas!re o$ ho'
close this dangero!s sit!ation is a&&roached.
9.'.3. Cladding Temperature (imits
Once D40 has occ!rred cladding te%&erat!re s <!ic2l* increases. +his te%&erat!re rise,
in t!rn e-&onentiall* increases the rate o$ che%ical reaction )et'een the Pircalo*
cladding and the stea%. s the reaction &roceeds, the heat o$ reaction ca!ses $!rther
acceleration o$ the reaction rate, 'hile the h*drogen &rod!ced and released to the
contain%ent increases the ris2 o$ e-&losion.
/ince D40 'o!ld onl* )e e-&ected to occ!r in highl* i%&ro)a)le accident scenarios, it
is not necessar* to sho' that $!el $ail!re does not occ!r. Rather, it is onl* necessar* to
de%onstrate in that case that the conse<!ences are not e-cessi(e, i.e. that $!el does not
get da%aged to the &oint that a coola)le geo%etr* cannot )e %aintained. +he cladding
te%&erat!re li%it 'as esta)lished to a(oid e-cessi(e reaction o$ the Pircalo* cladding
'ith 'ater. 3t has )een sho'n that a high te%&erat!re e-c!rsion and conse<!ent reaction
'ith stea% and o-*gen a)sor&tion )* the cladding ca!ses signi$icant &ost1<!ench
cladding e%)rittle%ent A4B. s e-&lained in .ha&ter 28, s!ch li%its are on %a-i%!%
cladding te%&erat!re
1204
C
T C <
o
and on the e<!i(alent cladding reacted
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
179 ECR
+o a(oid this scenario, a cladding te%&erat!re li%it has )een esta)lished o$ 1204E.
52200EC6 s!ch that this r!na'a* reaction &rocess cannot occ!r.
9.'., -tored Energy
One o$ the conse<!ences o$ a lo' $!el ther%al cond!cti(it* is that large te%&erat!re
gradients are needed in the $!el &ellet to dri(e the heat $l!- o!t $ro% the $!el to the
coolant. +he large te%&erat!re gradient %eans that there is a signi$icant a%o!nt o$ stored
energ* in the $!el. +his is one o$ the reasons 'h* cooling %!st contin!e to )e &ro(ided
e(en in the case o$ a loss o$ coolant accident. 3n the e(ent there 'as no cooling at the
cladding s!r$ace the heat redistri)!tes across the $!el &in !ntil the te%&erat!res are e(en
across the rod. +his redistri)!tion 'o!ld li2el* ca!se the cladding te%&erat!re to rise
a)o(e acce&ta)le li%its.
+he stored energ* &er !nit length o$ $!el rod is
0
2 5 6
R
F
stored p "
E C rdr T T

'here
F
p
C
is the (ol!%etric heat ca&acit* o$ the $!el 5L#%
3
.6
Cor a &ara)olic &ro$ile 'ith constant ther%al cond!cti(it*, 'e o)tain the stored energ* )*
inserting e<!ation into e<!ation to o)tain

2
2
0
F
2 1
4
R
F
stored p
F
q r
E C rdr
R

_


,

$ro% 'here 'e o)tain the stored energ* &er !nit length o$ $!el rod 5L#%6
2
F
8
F
p
stored
F
C q R
E

+h!s the coolant needs to &ro(ide eno!gh heat trans$er ca&a)ilit* to re%o(e at least this
%!ch heat, in addition to the heat generated )* $ission &rod!ct deca* 'hich is a)o!t 109
o$ the ther%all* rated &o'er at the %o%ent o$ sh!tdo'n.
Pro*lems
".1. 8eri$* that the )!rn!& 'hen e-&ressed in %ega'att.da*#%etric ton is e<!al to ".5 -
10
5
the $ractional )!rn!&.
".2 +he te%&erat!re de&endence o$ the ther%al cond!cti(it* o$ :O2 is gi(en
theoreticall* )*>
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
2I 2o#51Q0+6
'here 2o and 0 are constants and + is the te%&erat!re in J. :sing this e<!ation, deri(e
the e<!ation gi(ing the te%&erat!re di$$erence )et'een the $!el centerline and the $!el
s!r$ace. +he $!el s!r$ace te%&erat!re is +s and the rod linear &o'er is ;.
".3 3n calc!lating the te%&erat!re distri)!tion in the cladding, it is &ossi)le to neglect the
c!r(at!re and a&&ro-i%ate the geo%etr* as a sla).
5a6 Deri(e the e<!ation $or the te%&erat!re di$$erence )et'een the inside and
o!tside s!r$aces $or cladding o$ thic2ness tc and inner radi!s Rci on a $!el rod o&erating
at linear &o'er <R. +he cladding ther%al cond!cti(it* is c.
5)6 /ho' %athe%aticall* ho' the res!lt o$ 5a6 red!ces to $or the case o$ thin
cladding5tcOORci6.
5c6 +he cladding o$ ;WR $!el is 0.7 %% thic2 and 8 %% in dia%eter. What is the
$ractional error in the te%&erat!re di$$erence d!e to the !se o$ sla) geo%etr*S
".4. De%onstrate e<!ation
".5. ;ro(e that the $ractional ther%al e-&ansion o$ the o!tside dia%eter o$ a solid c*linder
o$ radi!s R 'ith ther%al e-&ansion coe$$icient in a &ara)olic te%&erat!re distri)!tion is
T , 'here T is the (ol!%e1a(eraged te%&erat!re rise o$ the solid.
".6. Deri(e e<!ation
".7 ?uple& fuel consists o$ t'o radial Dones 'ith di$$erent enrich%ents o$ the !rani!%.
/!ch &ellets red!ce the $!el centerline te%&erat!re )elo' that o$ con(entional !ni$or%l*1
enriched $!el o&erating at the sa%e linear &o'er. 3n a &artic!lar $!el design, the center o$
the &ellet to a radi!s ri consists o$ nat!ral !rani!% and the o!ter ann!l!s riOrOR contains
49 enriched $!el. +his $!el design is to )e co%&ared to con(entional single1enrich%ent
$!el containing 3.29
235
:, neglecting ne!tron1$l!- de&ression in the &ellet and ass!%ing
a te%&erat!re1inde&endent $!el ther%al cond!cti(it*.
5a6 What is the (al!e o$ ri that gi(es the sa%e a(erage &o'er densit* in the d!&le-
and ho%ogeneo!s $!elsS
(b) What is the ratio o$ the te%&erat!re di$$erence )et'een the $!el centerline
and s!r$ace $or the t'o designs at the sa%e linear &o'erS
".8 /ol!tions to transient heat1cond!ction &ro)le%s o$ten are e-&ressed in ter%s o$ a
di%ensionless ti%e t#d
2
and a di%ensionless &osition r#d, 'here I2#.& is the ther%al
di$$!si(it*, d is a characteristic di%ension o$ the )od*, and t and r are ti%e and &osition,
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
res&ecti(el*. +he ratio d
2
# is a characteristic time $or the &ro)le%. When the i%&osed
ti%e scale o$ the transient is %!ch longer than the characteristic ti%e, the <!asi1stead*1
state $or% o$ the heat cond!ction e<!ation is s!$$icient $or the anal*sis. 3$ the transient
occ!rs in ti%es shorter or co%&ara)le to the characteristic ti%e, the $!ll ti%e1de&endent
heat cond!ction e<!ation %!st )e sol(ed.
5a6 ;WR is sh!t do'n $ro% $!ll &o'er in 1#2 %in!te. .onsidering t*&ical
&ro&erties, 'hich co%&onents o$ the $!el rod5$!el and cladding6 can )e treated )* <!asi1
stead*1state heat cond!ction d!ring this transientS
(b) +he $irst 'all o$ a $!sion reactor is a steel &late 1 c% thic2. +he )ac2 side
o$ the 'all is %aintained at constant te%&erat!re )* a coolant. +he $ront $ace
is s!ddenl* e-&osed to a &las%a disr!&tion that increases the heat $l!-
instantaneo!sl*. &&ro-i%atel* ho' long is re<!ired $or the increased heat
load on the $ront $ace )e $elt at the )ac2 $ace o$ the 'allS +he ther%al
cond!cti(it*, heat ca&acit*, and densit* o$ the &artic!lar steel are 0.23 W#c%1
J, 0.32 L#g1J, and 8.7 g#c%
3
, res&ecti(el*.
9.9 $!el rod o&erates at a linear &o'er ; 'ith a radial &o'er densit* distri)!tion
?5r6I?oQar
2
, 'here ?o and a are constants. a is &ositi(e )eca!se the e$$ect it descri)es is
the ne!tron $l!- de&ression in the $!el &ellet. What is the di$$erence )et'een the
centerline1to1s!r$ace te%&erat!re di$$erence $or this rod co%&ared to one o&erating at the
sa%e linear &o'er )!t 'ith a !ni$or% radial &o'er densit* distri)!tionS
9.12 $ast reactor $!el &in o&erates at a linear &o'er o$ 700 W#c% at an a-ial location
'here the coolant 5li<!id sodi!%6 is 500
o
.. :nder these conditions, a central &ortion o$
the $!el is %olten. +he heat trans$er &ro&erties o$ this $!el &in are>
2ga&#tga& I 0.5 W#c%
2
1J
2c#tc I " W#c%
2
1J
hcoolant I 12 W#c%
2
1J
2solid $!el I 0.03 W#c%1J
2li<!id $!el I 0.05 W#c%1J
R I 0.35 c%
5a6 What is the $!el s!r$ace te%&erat!reS
5)6 +o 'hat $ractional radi!s is the $!el %oltenS
5c6 What is the $!el centerline te%&erat!reS
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014
".11 2e* sa$et* li%it in light1'ater reactors is the stored energ8 in the $!el. +his is the
ther%al energ* 5relati(e to 25
o
.6 contained in the te%&erat!re distri)!tions in the $!el
&ellet and in the cladding. 3n the e(ent o$ a loss1o$1coolant accident, $lo'ing li<!id 'ater
is re&laced )* stagnant stea%, 'hich acts as an ins!lating )lan2et o(er the $!el rod. G(en
tho!gh heat &rod!ction )* $ission has )een sh!t o$$, the original te%&erat!re &ro$iles
rela- to a constant te%&erat!re that is the sa%e in )oth $!el and cladding. +his $inal
te%&erat!re %!st not e-ceed a reg!lator* li%it.
0e$ore sh!tdo'n, the $!el o&erated at 500 W#c% linear &o'er and the local 'ater
coolant te%&erat!re 'as 300
o
.. +he $!el &ellet dia%eter is 1 c% and the cladding
thic2ness is 1 %%. +he $!el1cladding ga& is closed, so the te%&erat!re dro& across the
ga& is negligi)le. +he e-ternal heat trans$er coe$$icient in the 'ater coolant is (er* large,
so there is no te%&erat!re dro& here either.
(a) What are the $!el s!r$ace and centerline te%&erat!res d!ring o&erationS
(b) What is the $inal !ni$or% $!el and cladding te%&erat!re a$ter the adia)atic
rela-ation o$ the original distri)!tionsS
:se the ther%al &ro&erties gi(en in the cha&ter.
References
A1B R. Tang, O. ODer, and ?. Rosen)a!%, U.!rrent .hallenges and G-&ectations o$
?igh ;er$or%ance C!el $or the Milleni!%,U %ight Water Reactor Fuel
>erformance Meeting, ;ar2 .it*, :tah, 4/, 2000.
A2B M. M. Gl1Wa2il, Nuclear <eat Transport> %erican 4!clear /ociet*, 1"78.
A3B D. R. Olander, Fundamental @spects of Nuclear Reactor Fuel Elements> GRD,
1"76.
A4B K. ?ache and ?. M. .h!ng, U+he histor* o$ LO. e%)rittle%ent criteria,U 04th
Water Reactor "afet8 #nformation Meeting, 0ethesda, :/, 4R., 2001, 2051237.
Light Water Reactor Materials Donald Olander and rth!r Motta
"#24#2014