Procedures for manufacturing an instrumented nuclear fuel element

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Progress in Nuclear Energy
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The IEA-R1 is an open pool research reactor that operated for many years at 2 MW. The reactor uses plate type fuel elements which are formed by assembling eighteen parallel fuel plates. During the years of reactor operation at 2 MW, thermohydraulic safety margins with respect to design limits were always very high. However, more intense oxidation on some external fuel plates was observed when the reactor power was increased to 5 MW. At this new power level, the safety margins are significantly reduced due to the increase of the heat flux on the plates. In order to measure, experimentally, the fuel plate temperature under operation, an instrumented fuel element was constructed to obtain temperature experimental data at various positions of one or more fuel plates in the fuel element. The manufacturing method is characterized by keeping the original fuel element design specifications. Type K stainless sheathed thermocouples are mounted into supports pads in unrestricted positions. During the fuel element assembling, the supports pads with the thermocouples are mechanically fixed by interference between two adjacent fuel plates. The thermocouple wires are directed through the space existing at the bottom of the mounting slot where the fuel plate is fixed to the side plates. The number of thermocouples installed is not restricted and depends only on adaptations that can be made on the mounting slots of the standard fuel element side plates. This work describes the manufacturing procedures for assembling such an instrumented fuel element.

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DURAZZO, M.; UMBEHAUN, P.E.; TORRES, W.M.; SOUZA, J.A.B.; SILVA, D.G.; ANDRADE, D.A. Procedures for manufacturing an instrumented nuclear fuel element. Progress in Nuclear Energy, v. 113, p. 166-174, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnucene.2019.01.021. Disponível em: Acesso em: 22 Jun 2024.
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