Location

La Jolla, CA

Start Date

1-1-1991 12:00 AM

Description

The CANDU nuclear reactors that supply a major portion of the electrical power to eastern Canada house the uranium fuel elements in long tubes made of a zirconium-niobium alloy. After lengthy exposure to the radiation inside the reactor, these tubes become filled with hydride precipitates that can ultimately nucleate small cracks. To avoid failure from these cracks, the tubes are now being replaced after a conservative length of time. If a quantitative method of determining the actual hydride content of particular tubes were available, it would be possible to extend this time on many tubes and thus avoid retubing costs and the expense of reactor shutdowns. Unfortunately, nondestructive tests for the hydride content are not available because the effect of hydride formation on the physical properties of the tube is small and the sensors available for the tests must be able to operate in the nuclear reactor environment of an elevated temperature, high background radiation levels and a long tube geometry.

Book Title

Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation

Volume

10B

Chapter

Chapter 7: Characterization of Materials

Section

Properties

Pages

1655-1662

DOI

10.1007/978-1-4615-3742-7_67

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Measurement of the Hydride Content in Zr-Nb Pressure Tubes by the Third Order Elastic Constants

La Jolla, CA

The CANDU nuclear reactors that supply a major portion of the electrical power to eastern Canada house the uranium fuel elements in long tubes made of a zirconium-niobium alloy. After lengthy exposure to the radiation inside the reactor, these tubes become filled with hydride precipitates that can ultimately nucleate small cracks. To avoid failure from these cracks, the tubes are now being replaced after a conservative length of time. If a quantitative method of determining the actual hydride content of particular tubes were available, it would be possible to extend this time on many tubes and thus avoid retubing costs and the expense of reactor shutdowns. Unfortunately, nondestructive tests for the hydride content are not available because the effect of hydride formation on the physical properties of the tube is small and the sensors available for the tests must be able to operate in the nuclear reactor environment of an elevated temperature, high background radiation levels and a long tube geometry.