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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2011, Article ID 326948, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/326948
Research Article

Starting Point, Keys and Milestones of a Computer Code for the Simulation of the Behaviour of a Nuclear Fuel Rod

1Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (CNEA), Centro Atómico Bariloche (CAB), Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
2Instituto Balseiro, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina

Received 24 August 2010; Accepted 19 November 2010

Academic Editor: Juan Pablo Ordóñez

Copyright © 2011 Armando C. Marino. 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.

Abstract

The BaCo code (“Barra Combustible”) was developed at the Atomic Energy National Commission of Argentina (CNEA) for the simulation of nuclear fuel rod behaviour under irradiation conditions. We present in this paper a brief description of the code and the strategy used for the development, improvement, enhancement, and validation of a BaCo during the last 30 years. “Extreme case analysis”, parametric (or sensitivity), probabilistic (or statistic) analysis plus the analysis of the fuel performance (full core analysis) are the tools developed in the structure of BaCo in order to improve the understanding of the burnup extension in the Atucha I NPP, and the design of advanced fuel elements as CARA and CAREM. The 3D additional tools of BaCo can enhance the understanding of the fuel rod behaviour, the fuel design, and the safety margins. The modular structure of the BaCo code and its detailed coupling of thermo-mechanical and irradiation-induced phenomena make it a powerful tool for the prediction of the influence of material properties on the fuel rod performance and integrity.