This work presents a Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes–based computational fluid dynamics methodology for the calculation of pressure drop and mass flow rate distribution in a material test reactor flat-plate-type standard fuel assembly (SFA) of the IEA-R1 Brazilian research reactor to predict future improvements in newer SFA designs. The results improve the understanding of the origin of fuel plate oxidation due to high temperatures, and consequently, due to the internal flow dynamics. All numerical analyses were performed with the ANSYS-CFX® commercial code. The observed results show that the movement pin decreases the central channel mass flow due to the length of the vortex at the inlet region. However, the outlet nozzle showed greater general influence in the flow dynamics. It should have a more gradual cross-section transition being away from the fuel plates or a squarer-shaped design to get a more homogeneous mass flow distribution. Optimizing both regions could lead to a better cooling condition. The validation of the IEA-R1 numerical methodology was made by comparing the McMaster University’s dummy model experiment with a numerical model that uses the same numerical methodology. The experimental data were obtained with laser Doppler velocimetry, and the comparison showed good agreement for both pressure drop and mass flow rate distribution using the Standard k-ω turbulence model.