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Research Papers: Nuclear Power

Mining Process and Product Information From Pressure Fluctuations Within a Fuel Particle Coater

[+] Author and Article Information
Douglas W. Marshall

Department of Fuel Fabrication, Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, Idaho National Laboratory, U. S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3855douglas.marshall@inl.gov

Charles M. Barnes

Department of Fuel Fabrication, Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, Idaho National Laboratory, U. S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3855charles.barnes@inl.gov

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 132(1), 012905 (Oct 02, 2009) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3126772 History: Received November 14, 2008; Revised November 25, 2008; Published October 02, 2009

The next generation nuclear power/advanced gas reactor (NGNP/AGR) fuel development and qualification program included the design, installation, and testing of a 6-in. diameter nuclear fuel particle coater to demonstrate quality tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) fuel production on a small industrial scale. Scale-up from the laboratory-scale coater faced challenges associated with an increase in the kernel charge mass, kernel diameter, and a redesign of the gas distributor to achieve adequate fluidization throughout the deposition of the four TRISO coating layers. TRISO coatings are applied at very high temperatures in atmospheres of dense particulate clouds, corrosive gases, and hydrogen concentrations over 45% by volume. The severe environment, stringent product and process requirements, and the fragility of partially-formed coatings limit the insertion of probes or instruments into the coater vessel during operation. Pressure instrumentation were installed on the gas inlet line and exhaust line of the 6-in. coater to monitor the bed differential pressure and internal pressure fluctuations emanating from the fuel bed as a result of bed and gas “bubble” movements. These instruments are external to the particle bed and provide a glimpse into the dynamics of fuel particle bed during the coating process and data that could be used to help ascertain the adequacy of fluidization and, potentially, the dominant fluidization regimes. Pressure fluctuation and differential pressure data are not presently useful as process control instruments, but data suggest a link between the pressure signal structure and some measurable product attributes that could be exploited to get an early estimate of the attribute values.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Cross section of a TRISO-coated nuclear fuel particle showing coating layers

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Figure 2

Pox diagram of a 5-Hz sine wave sampled at 400 Hz

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Figure 3

Representative PSD of the buffer deposition

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Figure 4

Representative STFT plot (a) at the start of buffer deposition, (b) at the midpoint of buffer deposition, and (c) at the end of buffer deposition

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Figure 5

Plot of the buffered particle diameter versus a shift in the PSD peak-power frequencies (ω1,end-ω1,start)

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Figure 6

Plot of the buffered particle diameter versus the ratio of PSD peak-power frequencies (ω1,end/ω1,start)

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Figure 7

Plot of buffer density correlated with the change in coater gas inlet backpressure

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Figure 8

Plot of buffer density versus the ratio of PSD peak-power frequencies (ω1,end/ω1,start)

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Figure 9

Example of apparent disagreement in relationships

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Figure 10

Estimated versus measured IPyC diattenuation

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Figure 11

Estimated versus measured IPyC density

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Figure 12

Estimated versus calculated bed mass after IPyC deposition

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Figure 13

Estimated versus measured SiC aspect ratio

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Figure 14

Estimated versus measured OPyC diattenuation

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Figure 15

Estimated versus measured OPyC layer density

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Figure 16

Estimated versus measured OPyC aspect ratio

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