NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Fuel performance modeling

Analysis of LWR fuel performance under irradiation has relied on highly empirical models since the inception of nuclear energy. Among those engineering tools, FRPACON has been the one used by NRC. This code has also been adopted at CANES for analysis of existing and new fuel concepts, where new models are required. In particular improved models for high burnup, high content of PuO2 and ThO2 fuel, and Pellet-Clad Mechanical Interactions (PCMI) have been applied. An option for SiC cladding instead of Zr alloys has also been added. The new code called FRAPCON-MIT is currently being rewritten for more efficient user interaction. In addition, efforts were started in 2011 as part of the national program on LWR simulation (CASL), to introduce microscale modeling in the areas of cladding corrosion, creep, crud behavior and fretting and wear. Among the new models, the BDM model for CRUD deposition and thermal analysis in PWRs has been found useful by industry. Efforts to predict the generation of hydrogen and its migration through the corroded area into the cladding are in progress. Similarly, wear and clad-grid interactions are being modeled within the CASL effort.


  1. A. Mieloszyk and M. S. Kazimi, "An Improved Model for Pellet-Clad Interaction for FRAPCON," the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2012 (ICAPP 2012), Chicago, Illinois, June 2012.
  2. M. Youssef and B. Yildiz, “Mechanical degradation of ZrO2 passive layer in the presence of hydrogen defects,” MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit, Nov. 25–30, Boston, MA., 2012.
  3. B. Feng, A. Karahan, and M.S. Kazimi, “Steady-State Nitride Fuel Behavior Modeling with FRAPCON-EP and its Application to PWRs,” the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP), Nice, France, May 2011.
  4. A. Karahan and M.S. Kazimi, “On the Significance of Modeling Nuclear Fuel Behavior with the Right Representation of Physical Phenomena,” Nuclear Engineering and Design, October, 2010.
  5. Y. Long, L. J. Siefken, P. Hejzlar, E. P. Loewen, J. K. Hohorst, P. E. MacDonald, and M.S. Kazimi, “Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of ThO2 Based Fuels in LWRs”, Nuclear Technology, Vol 147, 2004.

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