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A Fission Gas Release Model for High-Burnup LWR ThO2-UO2 Fuel

Yun Long, Yi Yuan, Mujid S. Kazimi, Ronald G. Ballinger, Edward E. Pilat

Nuclear Technology

Volume 138 / Number 3 / June 2002 / Pages 260-272


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Fission gas release in thoria-urania fuel has been investigated by creating a specially modified FRAPCON-3 code. Because of the reduced buildup of 239Pu and a flatter distribution of 233U, the new model THUPS (Thoria-Urania Power Shape) was developed to calculate the radial power distribution, including the effects of both plutonium and 233U. Additionally, a new porosity model for the rim region was introduced at high burnup. The mechanisms of fission gas release in ThO2-UO2 fuel are expected to be essentially similar to those of UO2 fuel; therefore, the general formulations of the existing fission gas release models in FRAPCON-3 were retained. However, the gas diffusion coefficient was adjusted to a lower level to account for the smaller observed release fraction in the thoria-based fuel. To model the accelerated fission gas release at high burnup properly, a new athermal fission gas release model was introduced. The modified version of FRAPCON-3 was calibrated using the measured fission gas release data from the light water breeder reactor. Using the new model to calculate the gas release in typical pressurized water reactor hot pins gives data that indicate that the ThO2-UO2 fuel will have considerably lower fission gas release above a burnup of 50 MWd/kg HM.

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