Development and property evaluation of nuclear grade wrought FeCrAl fuel cladding for light water reactors


Development of nuclear grade, iron-based wrought FeCrAl alloys has been initiated for light water reactor (LWR) fuel cladding to serve as a substitute for zirconium-based alloys with enhanced accident tolerance. Ferritic alloys with sufficient chromium and aluminum additions can exhibit significantly improved oxidation kinetics in high-temperature steam environments when compared to zirconium-based alloys. In the first phase, a set of model FeCrAl alloys containing 10-20Cr, 3-5Al, and 0-0.12Y in weight percent, were prepared by conventional arc-melting and hot-working processes to explore the effect of composition on the properties of FeCrAlY alloys. It was found that the tensile properties were insensitive to the alloy compositions studied; however, the steam oxidation resistance strongly depended on both the chromium and the aluminum contents. The second phase development focused on strengthening Fe-13Cr-5Al with minor alloying additions of molybdenum, niobium, and silicon. Combined with an optimized thermo-mechanical treatment, a thermally stable microstructure was produced with improved tensile properties at temperatures up to 741°C.

In: Journal of Nuclear Materials, (467), pp. 703–716,