This chapter analyzes the effects of oxidation, embrittlement, and cladding growth on the Zircaloy-3 alloy used for 25 mil thick TREAT fuel assembly cladding. The fuel cladding is a protective shell which is used to prevent damage to the enclosed fuel. Therefore, its integrity is important to guarantee this protection. The above three factors which can affect the Zircaloy-3 cladding are considered in this chapter and investigated. Limits to operation are determined. The oxidation of Zircaloy-3 in air is of interest to air-cooled reactors and Zircaloy-2 and 4 for accidents in fuel storage pools. The temperature range of interest is from room temperature where the fuel is stored for long periods of time, through the temperature range encountered in normal operation (400 to 600°C) to the highest temperatures which are possible in extreme accident situations. This temperature range is considered in this chapter to be from room temperature to 1200°C.
Part of the book: Nuclear Material Performance