Nuclear Energy and Technology, № 4, 2016
This paper describes a method and a facility for the hot cell testing of the irradiated VVER-1000 FA flexural rigidity. The method is based on measurements of the FA bowing induced by cross-sectional loading. The load applied to the spacer grids is perpendicular to the grid face, and the FA bowing is measured optically using a TV camera. The facility can also be used to test the flexural rigidity of the FA skeleton after all of the fuel rods are removed. Several tens of VVER-1000 FAs with a burnup of ∼4 to ∼65 МW day/kg U were tested by Dimitrovgrad Research Institute of Atomic Reactors. The generalization and an analysis of the test results have made it possible to identify the major factors that contribute to the in-service change in the flexural rigidity of the VVER-1000 FAs and to determine the experimental dependence of its change on burnup.