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SCANAIR: A transient fuel performance code. Part One: General modelling description



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​Nuclear Engineering and Design / Volume 280, pages 150-171, décembre 2014

Type de document > *Article de revue

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Unité de recherche > IRSN/PSN-RES/SEMIA/LPTM

Auteurs > MOAL Alain, GEORGENTHUM Vincent, MARCHAND Olivier

Date de publication > 23/05/2014


Since the early 1990s, the French “Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire” (IRSN) has developed the SCANAIR computer code with the view to analysing pressurised water reactor (PWR) safety. This software specifically focuses on studying fast transients such as reactivity-initiated accidents (RIA) caused by possible ejection of control rods. The code aims at improving the global understanding of the physical mechanisms governing the thermal-mechanical behaviour of a single rod. It is currently used to analyse integral tests performed in CABRI and NSRR experimental reactors. The resulting validated code is used to carry out studies required to evaluate margins in relation to criteria for different types of fuel rods used in nuclear power plants.

Because phenomena occurring during fast power transients are complex, the simulation in SCANAIR is based on a close coupling between several modules aimed at modelling thermal, thermal-hydraulics, mechanical and gas behaviour. During the first stage of fast power transients, clad deformation is mainly governed by the pellet–clad mechanical interaction (PCMI). At the later stage, heat transfers from pellet to clad bring the cladding material to such high temperatures that the boiling crisis might occurs. The significant over-pressurisation of the rod and the fact of maintaining the cladding material at elevated temperatures during a fairly long period can lead to ballooning and possible clad failure.

A brief introduction describes the context, the historical background and recalls the main phenomena involved under fast transient conditions. Then, the main features of the SCANAIR computer code (version 7) are presented. The present paper is particularly focused on the detailed description of the thermal dynamics, the structural mechanics until the prediction of the clad failure and the gas behaviour modellings. A further paper will be focused on the code validation.