A two-dimensional computational model of a spent 7×7 Boiling Water Reactor assembly in a horizontal support basket was developed using the Fluent computational fluid dynamics package. Heat transfer simulations were performed to predict the maximum cladding temperature for assembly heat generation rates between 100 and 600W, uniform basket wall temperatures of 25 and 400°C, and with helium and nitrogen backfill gases. Different sets of simulations modeled conduction/radiation and natural convection/radiation transport across the gas filled regions to assess the importance of different transport processes. Simulations that included natural convection exhibited measurably lower cladding temperatures than those that did not only for nitrogen, at the lower basket wall temperature, and within an intermediate range of heat generation rates. Outside these conditions and for helium, conduction and radiation transport are sufficiently large so that natural convection has no measurable effect. Finally, the maximum cladding temperature is more sensitive to the assumed value of the fuel cladding emissivities when nitrogen is the backfill gas than when helium is used.

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