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ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Zirconium in the Nuclear Industry: 20th International Symposium
Editor
Suresh K. Yagnik
Suresh K. Yagnik
Symposium Chairperson and STP Editor
1
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
,
Palo Alto, CA,
US
Search for other works by this author on:
Michael Preuss
Michael Preuss
Symposium Chair and STP Editor
2
The University of Manchester Manchester
,
GB
;
Monash University
,
Clayton/Melbourne,
AU
Search for other works by this author on:
ISBN:
978-0-8031-7737-6
No. of Pages:
928
Publisher:
ASTM International
Publication date:
2023

In recognition of increasingly challenging fuel-management practices, next-generation cladding materials were developed in the zirconium industry targeting high fuel duties with the goal of improved performance, including corrosion resistance and dimensional stability. In addition to the conventional approaches including lower tin content, some new alloying elements such as vanadium and copper are used in combination with varying microstructures controlled by processing. A group of alloys called AXIOM® candidate alloys has thus been created with different compositions and degrees of recrystallization. The AXIOM cladding was irradiated in a variety of reactors worldwide, including both commercial and test reactors. Extensive postirradiation examination (PIE) data are available for various burnup levels and with the leading burnup up to 75 GWd/MTU, confirming AXIOM's improved corrosion resistance, lower hydrogen pickup, and lower creep strain and growth compared with current products, including ZIRLO® and Optimized ZIRLO™ cladding. In addition to the comprehensive hot-cell examinations of high-burnup AXIOM fuel rods, there are also test programs specifically designed to study the creep and growth behavior. These tests were conducted on controlled specimens selected to enable separation between the influences of chemical composition and processing parameters. AXIOM claddings were evaluated for corrosion performance in aggressive conditions exceeding those currently allowable in commercial PWRs, including high pH, high heat flux, and high mass evaporation rates. The AXIOM candidate alloys, with varying compositions and microstructures, in combination with the broad PIE datasets, are ideal for evaluating the factors controlling the performance improvements. The effects of alloying elements such as vanadium and copper and final heat treatments on corrosion, creep, growth, and hydrogen pickup are elucidated in this paper.

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