Helium diffusivity in oxide nuclear fuel: Critical data analysis and new correlations

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Helium is relevant in determining nuclear fuel behaviour. It affects the performance of nuclear fuel both in reactor and in storage conditions. Helium becomes important in reactor conditions when high burnups are targeted or MOX fuel is used, whereas for storage conditions it can represent a threat to the fuel rods integrity. The accurate knowledge of helium behaviour combined with predictive model capabilities is fundamental for the safe management of nuclear fuel, with helium diffusivity being a critical property. For this reason, a considerable number of separate effect experiments in the last fifty years investigated helium diffusivity in nuclear fuel. The aim of this work is to critically review and assess the experimental results concerning the helium diffusivity. Experimental results are critically analysed in terms of the helium introduction technique used (either infusion, implantation or doping) and of sample characteristics (single crystal, poly-crystal or powder). Accordingly, we derived two different correlations for the diffusivity. Clearly, each of the new correlations corresponds to a limited range of application conditions, depending on the experimental data used to derive it. We provide recommendations regarding the proper application conditions for each correlation (e.g., in reactor or storage conditions).




Luzzi, L., Cognini, L., Pizzocri, D., Barani, T., Pastore, G., Schubert, A., … Van Uffelen, P. (2018). Helium diffusivity in oxide nuclear fuel: Critical data analysis and new correlations. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 330, 265–271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2018.01.044

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