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Full-Scale Hot Cell Test of an Acoustic Sensor Dedicated to Measurement of the Internal Gas Pressure and Composition of a LWR Nuclear Fuel Rod

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7 Author(s)
Ferrandis, J.Y. ; Southern Electron. Inst., Univ. Montpellier 2, Montpellier, France ; Rosenkrantz, E. ; Leveque, G. ; Baron, D.
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A full-scale hot cell test of the internal gas pressure and composition measurement by an acoustic sensor was carried out successfully between 2008 and 2010 on irradiated fuel rods in the LECA-STAR facility at CADARACHE Centre. The acoustic sensor has been specially designed in order to provide a non-destructive technique to easily carry out the measurement of the internal gas pressure and gas composition (mainly Helium-Xenon mixture, with a small amount of Krypton) of a LWR nuclear fuel rod. This sensor has been achieved in 2007 and is now covered by an international patent. We performed the gas characterisation contained in irradiated fuel rods. The acoustic method accuracy is now ±5 bars on the pressure measurement result and {±}0.3% on the evaluated gas composition. The results of the acoustic method were compared to puncture results (destructive sampling). Another significant conclusion is that the efficiency of the acoustic method is not altered by the irradiation time, and possible modification of the cladding properties. The sensor-operating characteristics have not been altered by a two-year exposure in the hot cell conditions. These results make it possible to demonstrate the feasibility of the technique on irradiated fuel rods. The transducer and the associated methodology are now operational.

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 4 )