Volume 8, Issue 2 (February 2011)
Improved Zr-2.5Nb Pressure Tubes for Reduced Diametral Strain in Advanced CANDU Reactors
In an Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) (ACR is a registered trademark of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited), pressure tubes of cold-worked Zr-2.5Nb materials will be used in the reactor core to contain the fuel bundles and the light water coolant. They will be subjected to higher temperature, pressure, and flux than those in a CANDU (CANDU is a registered trademark of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) reactor, and accordingly require a thicker wall (6.5 mm for ACR versus 4.2 mm for CANDU). In order to ensure that these tubes will perform acceptably over their 30-year design life in such an environment, a study to model and forecast the performance of these thicker pressure tubes has been undertaken. One of the main requirements for the pressure tube is to have low diametral creep. Based on previous experience with CANDU reactor pressure tube performance and manufacture, an assessment of the grain structure and texture of the ACR pressure tubes indicates that the in-reactor creep deformation will be improved. Analysis of the distribution of texture parameters from a trial batch of 26 tubes shows that the variability is reduced relative to tubes fabricated in the past. This reduction in variability together with a shift to a coarser grain structure will result in a reduction in diametral creep design limits and thus a longer economic life for the fuel channels of the advanced CANDU reactor.