Abstract

Light water reactors (LWR) use zirconium-alloy fuel claddings, the tubes that hold the uranium-dioxide fuel pellets. Zr-alloys have very good neutron transparency, but during a loss of coolant accident or beyond design basis accident (BDBA) they can undergo excessive oxidation in reaction with the surrounding steam environment. Relatively thin oxidation-resistant coatings on Zr-alloy fuel cladding tubes can potentially buy coping time in these off-normal scenarios. In this study, cold spraying, solid-state powder-based materials deposition technology has been developed for deposition of oxidation-resistant Cr coatings on Zr-alloy cladding tubes, and the ensuing microstructure and properties of the coatings have been investigated. The coatings when deposited under optimum conditions have very good hydrothermal corrosion resistance as well as oxidation resistance in air and steam environments at temperatures in excess of 1100 °C, while maintaining excellent adhesion to the substrate. These and other results of this study, including mechanical property evaluations, will be presented.

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