Characterization of the relocated and dispersed fuel in the Halden reactor project LOCA tests based on gamma scan data
The on-going Loss-of-Coolant Accident (LOCA) test program at the OECD Halden Reactor Project (HRP) conducts in-house gamma scanning as standard post-irradiation examination (PIE) procedure on Light Water Reactor (LWR) fuel rods. One of the primary objectives of the program is to investigate fuel relocation into the balloon region and fuel dispersal through the cladding rupture opening after burst. A simple model called Gamma Transport Model was formulated for the purpose of interpretation of fuel relocation based on the gamma scan data. Fuel relocation may have a strong effect on the linear heat generation rate at the balloon due to, firstly, increase in linear fuel density, and secondly due to differences in burn-up and local heat generation rate at the periphery and bulk of the pellet. For this analysis, a pair of short-lived isotopes with very different fission product yields for U-235 and Pu-239 is selected from the gamma scan spectrum. The intention is to use the difference in the ratio of their concentrations in the balloon region to qualitatively make conclusion on the fuel relocation. As a separate outcome, the same analysis can be applied to the dispersed fuel region and to draw conclusion on its origin (pellet rim or bulk). The Gamma Transport Model is validated against a special (non-destructive) case from the Halden LOCA test program and then applied for the analysis of selected tests. In addition, a methodology is presented for estimation of the amount of dispersed fuel from the LOCA tests based on the gamma scan data. Currently, at Halden there is no possibility to measure the dispersed fuel and hence an alternative is needed. Such information can be used for code validation and for inferring additional information based on other test parameters such as cladding rupture opening. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.