Table of Contents
International Journal of Nuclear Energy
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 402351, 17 pages
Research Article

Thermal Analysis of ZPPR High Pu Content Stored Fuel

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID 83404, USA

Received 28 March 2014; Accepted 23 July 2014; Published 17 September 2014

Academic Editor: Alexander B. Shick

Copyright © 2014 Charles W. Solbrig et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Zero Power Physics Reactor (ZPPR) operated from April 18, 1969, until 1990. ZPPR operated at low power for testing nuclear reactor designs. This paper examines the temperature of Pu content ZPPR fuel while it is in storage. Heat is generated in the fuel due to Pu and Am decay and is a concern for possible cladding damage. Damage to the cladding could lead to fuel hydriding and oxidizing. A series of computer simulations were made to determine the range of temperatures potentially occuring in the ZPPR fuel. The maximum calculated fuel temperature is 292°C (558°F). Conservative assumptions in the model intentionally overestimate temperatures. The stored fuel temperatures are dependent on the distribution of fuel in the surrounding storage compartments, the heat generation rate of the fuel, and the orientation of fuel. Direct fuel temperatures could not be measured but storage bin doors, storage sleeve doors, and storage canister temperatures were measured. Comparison of these three temperatures to the calculations indicates that the temperatures calculated with conservative assumptions are, as expected, higher than the actual temperatures. The maximum calculated fuel temperature with the most conservative assumptions is significantly below the fuel failure criterion of 600°C (1,112°F).