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Quench Behavior Of Sic/Sic Cladding After High Temperature Ramp Under Steam Conditions

Abstract : Silicon carbide based continuous fiber ceramic matrix composite materials (SiCf/SiC) are considered by the French Nuclear Institute as a long-term option for Gen III/III+ light water reactor cladding to improve the accident tolerance of the fuel (ATF). Consistent with this ambition, the extensive RetD activities over the post-Fukushima period has resulted in significant progress in the fabrication of representative and functional specimen, removing some of technological barriers that prevent such advanced ceramics materials from using in a nuclear environment. In addition to on-going basic research, a collaborative program was launched to assess the thermo-mechanical performances of SiC/SiC composites produced at CEA and to collect the required data for a preliminary conceptual design.The present work reports the results from experiments on SiC/SiC clad segments demonstrating their outstanding ability to preserve a coolable geometry during the reflood phase of a postulated design basis Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA) and beyond. Experimental assessments of thermal shock performance were investigated for this purpose by quenching specimens from 1200DC to 1500DC under steam environment into room temperature water. SiC/SiC composites remain structurally sound and exhibit a slightly affected residual mechanical behavior depending on the oxidation time and the quenching temperature. Post-quenched SiC/SiC tubes were subjected to internal helium gas pressure to test the permeation of the structures. These tests clearly established the link between the leak-tightness retention and damages in the microstructure through micro crack initiation. Close examinations of the oxidized surfaces evidence the efficiency of the passivation layer in protecting substrates. Finally, a correlation of the observations with the oxide growth rate is developed to support a better understanding of the mechanisms as well as the prediction of the acceptable limits of application. These positive results reinforce the interest of a SiC-based fuel cladding concept to enhance the accident tolerance of fuel for future reactors.
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  • HAL Id : cea-02434519, version 1

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C. Lorrette, T. Guilbert, F. Bourlet, C. Sauder, L. Briottet, et al.. Quench Behavior Of Sic/Sic Cladding After High Temperature Ramp Under Steam Conditions. WRFPM 2017 - 2017 Water Reactor Fuel Performance Meeting, Sep 2017, Jeju Island, South Korea. ⟨cea-02434519⟩

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