Thorium-based fuel cycles can improve fuel sustainability within the nuclear power industry. The Canadian supercritical water-cooled reactor (SCWR) concept uses this path to achieve the sustainability requirement of the Gen-IV Forum. The study of thorium dioxide/thoria ThO2-based fuel irradiation behavior is significantly less advanced than that of uranium dioxide (UO2) fuel, although ThO2 possesses superior thermal conductivity, thermal expansion, higher melting temperature, and oxidation resistance that may improve both fuel performance and safety. The fuel and sheath modeling tool (FAST), a fuel performance model for UO2 fuel, was developed at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC). FAST capability has been extended to include thoria (ThO2), thorium uranium dioxide (Th,U)O2, and thorium plutonium dioxide (Th,Pu)O2 as fuel pellet materials, to aid in designing and performance assessment of Th-based fuels, including SCWR (Th,Pu)O2 fuel. The development and integration of ThO2 and (Th,U)O2 models into the existing FAST model led to the multipellet material FAST (MPM-FAST). Model development was performed in collaboration between RMCC and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). This paper presents an outline of the ThO2 and (Th,U)O2 MPM-FAST model, a comparison between modeling results with postirradiation examination (PIE) data from a test conducted at CNL, and an account of the knowledge gap between our ability to model ThO2 and (Th,U)O2 fuel compared to UO2. Results are encouraging when compared to PIE data.
A Thoria and Thorium Uranium Dioxide Nuclear Fuel Performance Model Prototype and Knowledge Gap Assessment
Manuscript received June 30, 2017; final manuscript received February 25, 2018; published online January 24, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Jovica R. Riznic.
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Bell, J. S., Chan, P. K., and Prudil, A. (January 24, 2019). "A Thoria and Thorium Uranium Dioxide Nuclear Fuel Performance Model Prototype and Knowledge Gap Assessment." ASME. ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci. January 2019; 5(1): 011005. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4039778
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