IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



CABRI CIP0-1 preliminary test results

J-C Mélis, M. Faury, C. Marquié, J. Papin. CABRI CIP0-1 preliminary test results


Economic considerations lead most of the electricians in the world to wish to increase of the burn-up values of the nuclear fuel they use in their power plants.

For the future, maximum burn-up values of 60,000 MWd/tM or more are foreseen.

Some electric companies for more than 10 years, have also used the MOX fuel concept (mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides, UO2 , PuO2). The average burn-up fraction of the MOX fuel is currently limited to 45,000 MWd/tM according to its use instructions. The increase of the MOX burn-up fraction is also a short-term industrial objective.

In order to determine the behaviour of even higher burn-up fraction-fuels, IRSN has launched in 2000 a new international program called CABRI Water Loop, mainly conducted within the framework of the NEA of the OECD.

The tests in the CABRI reactor will be performed in a pressurised water loop, more representative of the thermohydraulic conditions characterizing the PWRs than the sodium loop which has equipped this reactor until now.

In November 2002, the two first tests of the CABRI-Water loop program were performed. These are reference tests, performed in the existing loop cooled by liquid sodium, before the replacement by the water loop and the reactor upgrading. The first test (CIP0-2) using EDF fuel with M5 cladding showed no sign of clad failure: the analysis of the experimental results is in progress.

The second test (CIP0-1) using ENUSA fuel with Zirlo cladding is the subject of this paper. This has been successfully performed in the Na loop of the CABRI reactor. A careful analysis of the experimental signals and non-destructive examinations lead to the conclusion that the rod survived the transient overpower. A final confirmation of the rod tightness will be obtained after the rod piercing and gas analysis.

This test was the very last one performed in the 25 years old CABRI Na loop. The reactor is now shut down to allow the upgrading and the pressurized water loop instalment. The first test in the new configuration is scheduled in 2006.
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