A Probabilistic Assessment of PWR SNF Cladding Pinching Failure Considering Potential Transportation Accident Conditions

November 14, 2019
Publication: Nuclear Engineering and Design
Author(s): Ricardo Medina Elmar Eidelpes Luis Ibarra

This study presents a probabilistic assessment of pressurized water reactor (PWR) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) rod cladding pinching failure triggered by a transportation accident, after 300 years of dry storage. Three thousand pinching scenarios, which were previously evaluated assuming a baseline 9-m cask drop and a horizontal impact on an unyielding surface, are reassessed assuming more realistic train transportation accidents. Each scenario was defined using Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) of SNF rod conditions and loading parameters, and it is simulated with a nonlinear finite element (FE) model. Cladding failure is evaluated under consideration of hydride-related embrittlement effects. The reassessment indicates that cladding pinching failure is not significantly affected by the assumptions on transportation accidents, but is rather controlled by other parameters, mainly the pellet-cladding gap width. The reevaluated, conditional failure probability ranges from 1.62 E-7 to 6.47 E-7, for 5,000 km of transportation by train.

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Markets: Nuclear