Fuel cladding may be subjected to biaxial tensile stress in axial and hoop directions during pellet-cladding mechanical interaction (PCMI) of a reactivity-initiated accident (RIA). Incipient crack in the hydride rim assisted by the scattered hydrides in the metal phase may lead to failure of the cladding at small hoop strain level during PCMI. To get insight of such phenomenon, biaxial-EDC tests under axial to hoop strain ratios ranging from 0 to 1 were performed with pre-cracked (outer surface) and uniformly hydrided Zircaloy-4 cladding tube samples with final heat-treatment status of cold worked (CW), stress relieved (SR) and Recrystallized (RX). Results showed dependencies of failure hoop strain on pre-crack depth, strain ratio, hydrogen content and final heat-treatment status on fabrication, but no apparent dependencies were observed on the distribution pattern of hydrides (with similar hydrogen contents and hydrides predominantly precipitated in hoop direction) and the heat-treatment process for hydrogen charging. J integral at failure seems to be available to unify the effect of pre-crack depth.

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