Development of Burnup Dependent Fuel Rod Model in Cobra-tf

Open Access
Ozdemir Yilmaz, Mine
Graduate Program:
Nuclear Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 10, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Maria Nikolova Avramova, Dissertation Advisor
  • Maria Nikolova Avramova, Committee Chair
  • Kostadin Nikolov Ivanov, Committee Member
  • Turgay Ertekin, Committee Member
  • Arthur Thompson Motta, Committee Member
  • Jens G Munthe Andersen, Special Member
  • CTF
  • subchannel
  • fuel performance
  • thermal conductivity degradation
  • TCD
  • REA
  • Halden
  • fuel centerline temperature
The purpose of this research was to develop a burnup dependent fuel thermal conductivity model within Pennsylvania State University, Reactor Dynamics and Fuel Management Group (RDFMG) version of the subchannel thermal-hydraulics code COBRA-TF (CTF). The model takes into account first, the degradation of fuel thermal conductivity with high burnup; and second, the fuel thermal conductivity dependence on the Gadolinium content for both UO2 and MOX fuel rods. The modified Nuclear Fuel Industries (NFI) model for UO2 fuel rods and Duriez/Modified NFI Model for MOX fuel rods were incorporated into CTF and fuel centerline predictions were compared against Halden experimental test data and FRAPCON-3.4 predictions to validate the burnup dependent fuel thermal conductivity model in CTF. Experimental test cases from Halden reactor fuel rods for UO2 fuel rods at Beginning of Life (BOL), through lifetime without Gd2O3 and through lifetime with Gd2O3 and a MOX fuel rod were simulated with CTF. Since test fuel rod and FRAPCON-3.4 results were based on single rod measurements, CTF was run for a single fuel rod surrounded with a single channel configuration. Input decks for CTF were developed for one fuel rod located at the center of a subchannel (rod-centered subchannel approach). Fuel centerline temperatures predicted by CTF were compared against the measurements from Halden experimental test data and the predictions from FRAPCON-3.4. After implementing the new fuel thermal conductivity model in CTF and validating the model with experimental data, CTF model was applied to steady state and transient calculations. 4x4 PWR fuel bundle configuration from Purdue MOX benchmark was used to apply the new model for steady state and transient calculations. First, one of each high burnup UO2 and MOX fuel rods from 4x4 matrix were selected to carry out single fuel rod calculations and fuel centerline temperatures predicted by CTF/TORT-TD were compared against CTF /TORT-TD /FRAPTRAN predictions. After confirming that the new fuel thermal conductivity model in CTF worked and provided consistent results with FRAPTRAN predictions for a single fuel rod configuration, the same type of analysis was carried out for a bigger system which is the 4x4 PWR bundle consisting of 15 fuel pins and one control guide tube. Steady- state calculations at Hot Full Power (HFP) conditions for control guide tube out (unrodded) were performed using the 4x4 PWR array with CTF/TORT-TD coupled code system. Fuel centerline, surface and average temperatures predicted by CTF/TORT-TD with and without the new fuel thermal conductivity model were compared against CTF/TORT-TD/FRAPTRAN predictions to demonstrate the improvement in fuel centerline predictions when new model was used. In addition to that constant and CTF dynamic gap conductance model were used with the new thermal conductivity model to show the performance of the CTF dynamic gap conductance model and its impact on fuel centerline and surface temperatures. Finally, a Rod Ejection Accident (REA) scenario using the same 4x4 PWR array was run both at Hot Zero Power (HZP) and Hot Full Power (HFP) condition, starting at a position where half of the control rod is inserted. This scenario was run using CTF/TORT-TD coupled code system with and without the new fuel thermal conductivity model. The purpose of this transient analysis was to show the impact of thermal conductivity degradation (TCD) on feedback effects, specifically Doppler Reactivity Coefficient (DRC) and, eventually, total core reactivity.