Physical and Numerical Difficulties in Computer Modelling of Pellet-Cladding Contact Problems for Burned-Up Fuel

M. Dostál, J. Zymák, M. Valach


The importance of fuel reliability is growing due to the deregulated electricity market and the demands on operability and availability to the electricity grid of nuclear units. Under these conditions of fuel exploitation, the problems of PCMI (Pellet-Cladding Mechanical Interaction) are very important from the point of view of fuel rod integrity and reliability. Severe loading is thermophysically and mechanically expressed as a greater probability of cladding failure especially during power maneuvering. We have to be able to make a realistic prediction of safety margins, which is very difficult by using computer simulation methods. NRI (Nuclear Research Institute) has recently been engaged in developing 2D and 3D FEM (Finite Element Method) based models dealing with this problem. The latest effort in this field has been to validate 2D r-z models developed in the COSMOS/M system against calculations using the FEMAXI-V code. This paper presents a preliminary comparison between classical FEM based integral code calculations and new models that are still under development. The problem has not been definitely solved. The presented data is of a preliminary nature, and several difficult problems remain to be solved. 


PCMI; FEM; contact; pellet; cladding

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague