Sensitivity studies on operational parameters evaluated the effects of these parameters related to operating and irradiation conditions on the simulated thermo-mechanical performance of a monolithic fuel plate. Since different reactors will employ various geometric designs with a wide range of operational envelopes, it is not feasible to use a single representative geometry with characteristic irradiation parameters to study possible effects specific to different reactor applications. To make a comparative performance assessment, characteristic operational parameters on a demonstrative geometry were studied instead.

Several distinct parameters related to the monolithic fuel system’s operating and irradiation conditions were evaluated using finite element analysis to address these concerns. These parameters included mechanical constraints, cooling rate, cooling conditions, power and burnup, bond strength and delamination, thermal cycling, and flow-induced deformation.

This study observed that a simulated closure of a coolant channel causes the fuel plate temperature to rise and that reducing one of the coolant channels adjacent to a fuel plate results in fuel plate deflection. The delamination between fuel and cladding locally increased the temperature in the fuel plate. As simulated in this work, the delamination size showed a negligible effect on the maximum fuel temperature.

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