Transient Fission Gas Behavior in Uranium Nitride Fuel Under Proposed Space Applications
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In order to investigate whether fission gas swelling and release would be significant factors in a space based nuclear reactor operating under the Strategic Defense Initiative SDI program, the finite element program REDSTONE Routine For Evaluating Dynamic Swelling in Transient Operational Nuclear Environments was developed to model the 1-D, spherical geometry diffusion equations describing transient fission gas behavior in a single uranium nitride fuel grain. The equations characterized individual bubbles, rather than bubble groupings. This limited calculations to those scenarios where low temperatures, low burnups, or both were present. Instabilities in the bubble radii calculations forced the implementation of additional constraints limiting the bubble sizes to minimum and maximum equilibrium radii. The validity of REDSTONE calculations were checked against analytical solutions for internal consistency and against experimental studies for agreement with swelling and release results.
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