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CNL Awards of Excellence/Distinguished Merit Award: Fuel Channel Life Management

Distinguished Merit Award: Fuel Channel Life Management

Alex Reavie, Dylan Broad, James Slattery, Joe Bida, Joe Chartrand, Kyle Baker, Kyle Breen, Lance Broome, Larkin Mosscrop, Scott Holyomes, Serge Bertrand, Sterling St. Lawrence, Todd Gale, and Zia Haque

For the work on the irradiated pressure tube burst tests for the CANDU Owners Group (COG) Fuel Channel Life Management.

CANDU pressure tubes ingress hydrogen and deuterium during service through corrosion from the heavy water coolant and at the ends of the pressure tubes through the Rolled Joints. Hydrogen content in pressure tubes build over time and can impact material properties, especially fracture toughness. As many of the current operating domestic reactors were approaching their initial design life, about 10 years ago the CANDU industry initiated a major research and development program known as the Fuel Channel Life Management (FCLM) through the Candu Owners Group (COG). The FCLM program has allowed the utilities to develop a solid technical basis to regain operating safety margins in aging reactors and to extend the number of years of continued operation until refurbishment. One of the core areas of research within the FCLM is fracture toughness of pressure tubes at late-in-life conditions. In order to demonstrate pressure tube integrity at high hydrogen concentrations, many burst tests of irradiated pressure tube sections have been performed at CNL through the various phases of FCLM.

These high value experiments have provided critical data that had direct impact on the operations of the domestic CANDU reactors, and the favorable experimental results have allowed regulator confidence in continued operation.