Volume 5, Issue 9 (October 2008)
Evaluation of Hydride Reorientation Behavior and Mechanical Properties for High-Burnup Fuel-Cladding Tubes in Interim Dry Storage
The hydride stress reorientation behavior and the mechanical properties of irradiated cladding tubes were investigated to evaluate the high-burnup fuel-cladding tube properties in interim dry storage. As for the boiling water reactor (BWR) Zircaloy-2 (Zry-2) cladding, the hydride reorientation to the radial direction occurred at relatively low hoop stresses during the hydride reorientation treatment (HRT), such as less than 70 MPa. The increase of reorientation with hoop stress was not monotonic for the specimens in which a part of the hydrides remained precipitated at the HRT temperature, such as the case for 50GWd/t type cladding at a 300°C HRT. The degree of reorientation depended on the HRT solution temperature rather than on the estimated temperature at which the hydride precipitation occurred under the relatively moderate HRT conditions. In the relatively low cooling rate HRT, the hydride preferential precipitation in the Zr liner increased for Zr lined cladding compared to that in a relatively high cooling rate. The ductility of the specimens after the 300°C HRT showed relatively good correlation to the Polymax index which reflects the length or continuity of the hydrides regardless of their orientation. The ductility of the specimens after the 400°C, 0 MPa, 30°C/h HRT increased in ring compression testing at room temperature compared to no HRT (as-irradiated) specimens, and it indicated recovery of irradiation damage occurred at the 400°C annealing temperature and affected the ductility of the irradiated Zry-2 cladding. As for the pressurized water reactor Zircaloy-4 cladding, little increase in the radial hydride ratio occurred in a 100 MPa, 340°C or less HRT. On the other hand, the amount and the length of the hydride in the midwall area of the cladding depended on the temperature and the cooling rate from the HRT due to hydrogen migration from the hydride rim area. It is deduced that the ductility in ring compression deformation was affected by the orientation, amount, and length of hydride in the midwall area.