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At Chalk River, performance limits for advanced fuels are established by irradiating multi-element assemblies until one or more elements develop a cladding leak. Post-irradiation identification of leaky elements is assisted by thermal neutron radiography, because marked changes in radiographic appearance occur due to the effects of light water coolant entering during operation. Radiographs illustrating these changes are given for zirconium alloy-clad UO2 and uranium alloy fuel elements that had been irradiated in pressurized water to burnups up to 144 MWh/kg uranium.
neutron radiography, nondestructive testing, nuclear fuel elements, nuclear fuel cladding, neutron irradiation, leakage, zirconium alloys, Zircaloys, zirconium hydrides, uranium oxides
Associate research officer, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Chalk River Nuclear Labs., Chalk River, Ontario