Experimental Approaches for Manufacturing of Simulated Cladding and Simulated Fuel Rod for Mechanical Decladder
Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
We are developing a practical-scale mechanical decladder that can slit nuclear spent fuel rod-cuts (hulls + pellets) on the order of several tens of kgf of heavy metal/batch to supply UO2 pellets to a voloxidation process. The mechanical decladder is used for separating and recovering nuclear fuel material from the cladding tube by horizontally slitting the cladding tube of a fuel rod. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) is improving the performance of the mechanical decladder to
... increase the recovery rate of pellets from spent fuel rods. However, because actual nuclear spent fuel is dangerously toxic, we need to develop simulated spent fuel rods for continuous experiments with mechanical decladders. We describe procedures to develop both simulated cladding tubes and simulated fuel rod (with physical properties similar to those of spent nuclear fuel). Performance tests were carried out to evaluate the decladding ability of the mechanical decladder using two types of simulated fuel (simulated tube + brass pellets and zircaloy-4 tube + simulated ceramic fuel rod). The simulated tube was developed for analyzing the slitting characteristics of the cross section of the spent fuel cladding tube. Simulated ceramic fuel rod (with mechanical properties similar to the pellets of actual PWR spent fuel) was produced to ensure that the mechanical decladder could slit real PWR spent fuel. We used castable powder pellets that simulate the compressive stress of the real spent UO2 pellet. The production criteria for simulated pellets with compressive stresses similar to those of actual spent fuel were determined, and the castables were inserted into zircaloy-4 tubes and sintered to produce the simulated fuel rod. To investigate the slitting characteristics of the simulated ceramic fuel rod, a verification experiment was performed using a mechanical decladder.