Abstract

Monolithic fuel is a candidate fuel form that is being considered for the conversion of high-performance research reactors. This plate-type fuel consists of a high-density, U-Mo fuel in a monolithic form that is sandwiched between zirconium diffusion barriers and encapsulated in an aluminum cladding. To date, many plates were irradiated with a satisfactory irradiation performance, demonstrating that the conceptual design works. The program is now moving to the qualification phase, a predecessor to the timely conversion of the target reactors. To qualify this fuel system, the program must show that the fuel plates have predictable behavior, meet the safety standards, and perform well in reactors. The requirement of a satisfactory irradiation performance under normal operating conditions is primarily demonstrated by a successful testing. To demonstrate that the fuel system has a predictable behavior, the several key material properties should be quantified accurately since these properties are needed to estimate the thermal and mechanical behavior of the fuel system. Although, there is a large set of thermophysical property data available for unirradiated material, the property data for irradiated fuel is scarce. Since irradiation causes drastic effects in material, a significant change in material properties occurs. Consequently, using representative degradation models becomes essential for accurate performance assessments. This work examines thermal conductivity of U-10Mo, by evaluating recent experimental data from the literature and available theoretical models. The study has discovered inconsistencies in the literature data, revealing that previously developed theoretical models fail to predict the thermal conductivity of irradiated fuel.

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