Nuclear Technology / Volume 182 / Number 2 / May 2013 / Pages 124-137
Technical Paper / Special Issue on the Symposium on Radiation Effects in Ceramic Oxide and Novel LWR Fuels / Fuel Cycle and Management
This paper focuses on the PLEIADES fuel performance software environment and its application to the modeling of pellet-cladding interaction (PCI). The PLEIADES platform has been under development for 10 yr; a unified software environment, including the multidimensional finite element solver CAST3M, has been used to develop eight computation schemes now under operation. Among the latter, the ALCYONE application is devoted to pressurized water reactor fuel rod behavior. This application provides a three-dimensional (3-D) model for a detailed analysis of fuel element behavior and enables validation through comparing simulation and postirradiation examination results (cladding residual diameter and ridges, dishing filling, pellet cracking, etc.). These last years the 3-D computation scheme of the ALCYONE application has been enriched with a complete set of physical models to take into account thermomechanical and chemical-physical behavior of the fuel element under irradiation. These models have been validated through the ALCYONE application on a large experimental database composed of approximately 400 study cases. The strong point of the ALCYONE application concerns the local approach of stress-corrosion-cracking rupture under PCI, which can be computed with the 3-D finite element solver.
Further developments for PCI modeling in the PLEIADES platform are devoted to a new mesh refinement method for assessing stress-and-strain concentration (multigrid technique) and a new component for assessing fission product chemical recombination.