Accident tolerant fuel (ATF) is expected to delay or prevent core damage by providing additional coping time under accidents involving loss of core cooling. The effect of extended coping time may vary depending on the plant response to accidents. Age-related component degradation that deteriorates plant performance over time could have an impact on the actual advantages of ATF. The potential safety benefits of two near-term ATF candidates, including Cr-coated Zr cladding and FeCrAl cladding, are assessed for a 2-in. loss-of-coolant accident with failed high-pressure safety injection using the dynamic event tree (DET) approach considering possible stress corrosion cracking of steam generator (SG) tubing under aging. The DET approach allows likelihood quantification of accident sequences leading to core damage, including stochastic variation of system response and human actions during accident mitigation.

The safety benefits of the selected ATF claddings in terms of additional coping time and the core damage frequency reduction rate under specified accident situations were quantitatively estimated. The results show that the deployment of the two selected ATF claddings is expected to lead to longer coping times and lower core damage frequency due to the wider safety margin to peak cladding temperature they provide. The safety advantages would be greater as SG tube degradation proceeds. Thus, the two ATF candidates would lead to less severe consequences in terms of likelihood of core damage and susceptibility to the SG tube degradation than UO2-Zr fuel.