The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) is intended to encourage the world’s leading nuclear countries to develop nuclear energy systems that can supply future energy demands. There are six nuclear reactor concepts under research and development as part of the GIF. The SuperCritical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR) is one of these six nuclear-reactor concepts. The proposed SCWRs operate at high temperatures and pressures at around 625°C and 25 MPa, respectively. These high operating parameters are essential in order to achieve a thermal efficiency of around 45–50%, which is significantly higher than those of the current conventional nuclear power plant (NPPs) which operate at a thermal efficiency in the range of 30–35%.
The SCWRs high operating temperatures and pressures impose many challenges. One of these challenges is the heating of the fuel to temperatures that can cause fuel melting. The main objective of this paper is to conduct a sensitivity analysis in order to determine the factors mostly affecting the fuel centerline temperature. In this process, different thermal conductivity fuels such as Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX), Uranium Oxide + Beryllium Oxide (UO2+BeO), and Uranium Carbide (UC) will be examined enclosed in a 54-element fuel bundle. Other factors such as the sheath material and the Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC) might also affect the fuel centerline temperature. The HTC will be increased by a multiple of two and the fuel centerline temperature will be calculated. Therefore, in this paper the HTC, bulk-fluid, sheath and fuel centerline temperature will be calculated along the heated length of a generic SCWR fuel channel at an average channel thermal power of 8.5 MWth.