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Effect of Helium Pressure on the Response of Unirradiated UO2 Subjected to Thermal Transients

G. R. Fenske, R. B. Poeppel, J. E. Emerson, P. M. Chapello, S. G. Das, R. H. Sevy

Nuclear Technology

Volume 61 / Number 1 / April 1983 / Pages 100-112


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The effect of helium pressure on the transient response of unirradiated depleted UO2 subjected to simulated hypothetical loss-of-flow accidents in a gas-cooled fast reactor was examined by use of the direct electrical heating technique. Transient tests were performed at pressures ranging from 7 to 10 × 105Pa (7 to 10 atm) to 7 to 8 MPa (70 to 80 atm) on radially restrained and unrestrained fuel segments. The average heating rates ranged from ∼17 to 240 J/g .s. The results indicate that while the mechanical integrity of the fuel segment was independent of the test pressure, the rapid ejection of molten fuel from pellet interfaces of unrestrained fuel, observed at the lower pressures, was delayed or suppressed at the higher pressures.

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