Hydraulic lift-off issues for application of high performance annular fuels in pressurized water reactors

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2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1023
Journal / PublicationAnnals of Nuclear Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2015


In the PWR core, the fuel assembly is firmly seated on the lower core plate during operation. However, if the hydraulic force exerted on the fuel assembly by coolant flow is too large and the fuel assembly is lifted-off from the lower core plate, the excessive vibration will cause fuel failure. Therefore, the hydraulic lift-off issue needs to be addressed when the advanced fuel assembly is developed. It has been shown that the advanced annular fuel design with internal cooling allows power uprating up to 50% while the peak temperature of the fuel can be reduced and the MDNBR can be maintained. However, if the coolant condition in the core is kept unchanged, increasing the core power by 50% requires the core flow rate also increase proportionally, which will give rise to the hydraulic lift-off, an important issue to be addressed. In this paper, taking the 17 × 17 solid fuel design as the reference, the hydraulic lift-off issue is investigated for proposed 12 × 12 and 13 × 13 annular fuel designs. Both the steady-state and start-up operating conditions are evaluated. It is found that the hydraulic lift-off indeed is an issue for annular fuel design which requires careful analysis. By comparison, the lift-off forces and hold-down forces required for the externally and internally cooled annular fuels (13 × 13 and 12 × 12 arrays) are several times larger than that of the referenced solid fuel (17 × 17 array). Therefore, the hold-down mechanism for annular fuel needs to be carefully designed.

Research Area(s)

  • Annual fuel, Hold-down, Hydraulic force, Lift-off, PWR, Steady-state