Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
1998 International RERTR Meeting
THE BEGINNING OF THE LEU FUEL ELEMENTS
IN THE CHILEAN COMMISSION OF NUCLEAR ENERGY
H. Contreras , J. C. Chavez, J. Marin, J. Lisboa, L. Olivares, O.
Comision Chilena de Energia Nuclear, CCHEN
Amunategui 95 Santiago CHILE
The U3Si2 LEU fuel fabrication program at CCHEN has started with the assembly of four "leaders" fuel elements for the RECH-1 reactor. This activity has involved a stage of fuel plates qualification, to evaluate fabrication procedures and quality controls and quality assurance. The qualification extent was 50% of the fuel plates, equivalent to the number of plates required for the assembly of two fuel elements.
Destructive tests had been used in two random selected plates, with 3.4 and 1.7 gU/cm3 nominal densities in order to verify the uranium content, surface density and meat and cladding thickness. The chemical analysis of a dissolved compact showed a total uranium content within the specified range of 72.48 g ± 2%. The results of chemical analysis of 1 cm2 area disks, punched from critical zones of fuel plates, were compared with the values obtained via standard densitometry measurements of radiographic plates. The average difference was less than 7% and the fuel plates homogeneity was found to be within international standards for this control. Core and cladding thickness results were obtained via metalography and they were within the specified values of 0.61 and 0.46 ± 0.03 mm. Besides, it was not found "dog boning".
After this plate qualification stage, the fabrication program has proceeded to the assembly of the four leaders fuel elements. They were delivered to the RECH-1 reactor, and soon after a core reconfiguration will be located in the core of the reactor.
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