Modélisation du comportement mécanique "post-trempe", après oxydation à haute température, des gaines de combustible des réacteurs à eau pressurisée

Abstract : During the second stage of Loss Of Coolant Accident (LOCA) in Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) zirconium-based fuel claddings undergo a high temperature oxidation (up to 1200°C), then a water quench. After a single-side steam oxidation followed by a direct quench, the cladding is composed of three layers: an oxide (Zirconia) outer layer (formed at HT), always brittle at Room Temperature (RT), an intermediate oxygen stabilized alpha layer, always brittle at RT, called alpha(O), and an inner "prior-beta" layer, which is the only layer able to keep some significant Post Quench (PQ) ductility at RT. However, hydrogen absorbed because of service exposure or during the LOCA transient, concentrates in this layer and may leads to its embrittlement.To estimate the PQ mechanical properties of these materials, Ring Compression Tests (RCT) are widely used because of their simplicity. Small sample size makes RCTs advantageous when a comparison with irradiated samples is required. Despite their good reproducibility, these tests are difficult to interpret as they often present two or more load drops on the engineering load-displacement curve. Laboratories disagree about their interpretation.This study proposes an original fracture scenario for a stratified PQ cladding tested by RCT, and its associated FE model. Strong oxygen content gradient effect on layers mechanical properties is taken into account in the model. PQ thermal stresses resulting from water quench of HT oxidized cladding are investigated, as well as progressive damage of three layers during an RCT. The proposed scenario is based on interrupted RCT analysis, post- RCT sample's outer layers observation for damage evaluation, RCTs of prior-beta single-layer rings, and mechanical behavior of especially chemically adjusted samples.The force displacement curves appearance is correctly reproduced using the obtained FE model. The proposed fracture scenario elucidates RCTs of quenched zirconium-based nuclear fuel claddings (after a high temperature oxidation) macroscopic interpretation.Finally, this study presents a preliminary evaluation of the impact of hydrogen on the oxidized cladding's mechanical behavior.
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Andrea Cabrera Salcedo. Modélisation du comportement mécanique "post-trempe", après oxydation à haute température, des gaines de combustible des réacteurs à eau pressurisée. Autre. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012ENMP0009⟩. ⟨pastel-00705085⟩

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