This paper deals with the numerical prediction of thermal performance characteristics of a rectangular nuclear fuel element dissipating fission heat in its surrounding medium. Assuming uniform heat generation within the fuel element, the steady, two-dimensional heat conduction equation along with appropriate boundary conditions is solved using second order accurate finite difference scheme. On the basis of axial temperature profiles and the variation of Biot number, Bi and heat generation parameter, Q with respect to maximum temperature, θmax within the fuel element, results are presented for a wide range of aspect ratio, Ar, Bi, and Q and discussed in detail. It is found that with the increase in Ar, the effect of axial conduction on the temperature profile diminishes rapidly and ultimately for all values of Ar ≥7, it remains confined to the region very close to the leading edge. It is also concluded that for a set of fixed values of Ar and Q, there exists a lower limiting value of Bi below which it cannot be decreased. Similarly, for a set of fixed values of Ar and Q, there also exists an upper limiting value of Q above which θmax exceeds its allowable limit. Furthermore, it is concluded that the requirement of increase in Bi due to increase in Q, θmax being within its allowable limit, becomes larger and larger as Q becomes higher and higher.

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