Abstract

The AGR-5/6/7 experiment is currently being irradiated in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory and is approximately 70% complete. Several fuel and material irradiation experiments have been planned for the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Gas Reactor Fuel Development and Qualification Program, which supports the development and qualification of tristructural isotropic (TRISO)-coated particle fuel for use in high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. The goals of these experiments are to provide irradiation performance data to support fuel process development, qualify fuel for normal operating conditions, support development of fuel performance models and codes, and provide irradiated fuel and materials for post-irradiation examination and safety testing. Originally planned and named as separate fuel experiments, but subsequently combined into a single test train, AGR-5/6/7 is testing low-enriched uranium oxycarbide TRISO fuel. The AGR-5/6/7 test train has five capsules with thermocouples and independent gas control mixtures.

Unique to this paper is a sensitivity study concerning the cylindricity of the graphite holders containing the fuel compacts and their eccentricity in relation to the stainless-steel capsule walls. Each capsule has small nubs on the outside used for centering the graphite holder inside the stainless-steel capsule with a small gas gap used to control temperature. Due to machining tolerances of these nubs, and vibration wearing the nubs down when the experiment is running in the reactor, the possibility exists that the holder may move around radially. Each capsule is equipped with several thermocouples placed at various radii and depths within each graphite holder. This paper will show the sensitivity of offsetting the graphite holder for various radii in 45-degree increments around the circle with the objective of minimizing the difference between the measured thermocouples and the modeled thermocouple temperatures. Separate gas mixtures of helium/neon are introduced into this gas gap between the holder and capsule wall and changed as necessary to maintain the desired thermocouple temperatures to keep the fuel compacts at a constant temperature as the nuclear reactor conditions change.

The goal of the sensitivity study is to find a radius and an angle to offset the holder from perfectly centered for each of the five capsules separately. The complex thermal model includes fission heating, gamma heating, radiation heat transfer, and heat transfer via conduction and radiation across the control gaps. Subroutines linked to the thermal model offer an easy method to offset the graphite holder from the capsule walls without remeshing the entire model.

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