Analysis of effects of pellet-cladding bonding on trapping of the released fission gases in high burnup KKL BWR fuels
The first part of the paper presents results of a numerical analysis of the fuel behavior during base irradiation in the Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt Boiling Water Reactor (KKL BWR) using EPRI's FALCON code coupled to GRSW-A - an advanced model for fuel swelling and fission gas release. Post-irradiation examinations conducted at the Paul Scherrer Institute's (PSI) hot laboratory gave evidence of a distinct circumferential non-uniformity of local burnup at pellet surfaces. For several fuel samples, intact pellet-cladding bonding areas on the high burnup sides of the pellets at high burnup above similar to 70 MWd/kgU were observed. It is hypothesized that a part of the fission gases, which are expected to be released by those areas, can be trapped and do not reach the rod plenum. In this paper, a simple approach to modeling of fission gas trapping is employed which reveals a potential correlation between the position of the rod within the fuel assembly (and therefore the degree of circumferential burnup non-uniformity) and the degree of fission gas trapping. A model is suggested to correlate the amount of locally trapped gas with the integral of the local contact pressure and the degree of circumferential burnup non uniformity. The model is calibrated with available measurements of FGR from rod puncturing at the level of the plenums. In future work, the hypothesis about the axial distribution of trapped fission gas will be extrapolated to the Loss-Of-Coolant Accident (LOCA) analysis as an attempt to explain the fission gas release observed in some samples fabricated from irradiated KKL fuel rods and tested in the OECD Halden Reactor Project's LOCA test program. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.