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CABRI-WATER-LOOP, High burn-up fuel behaviour in RIA conditions

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OECD/NEA Cabri Water Loop Project.

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OECD/NEA Cabri Water Loop Project


The Cabri Water Loop Project is investigating the ability of high burn-up fuel to withstand the sharp power peaks that can occur in power reactors due to rapid reactivity insertion in the core. These are referred to as reactivity-induced accidents (RIA). The project stems from previous Japanese and French tests conducted on high burn-up pressurised water reactor (PWR) fuel that in a few instances exhibited failure at relatively moderate energy deposition levels. The Cabri project aims to extend the database for high burn-up fuel performance in RIA conditions and more importantly, to perform relevant tests under coolant conditions representative of PWRs.


The project began in 2000 and will run until 2015. The experimental work will be carried out at the Institut de radioprotection et de surete nucleaire (IRSN) in Cadarache, France, where the Cabri reactor is located. Programme execution can, however, involve laboratories in participating organisations (for instance, in relation to fuel characterisation or post-irradiation examinations).


Twelve tests are proposed as a basis for co-operation with IRSN partners in the Cabri Water Loop Project: these experiments include R>D tests, combined with suitable tests to validate the extrapolation to a broad spectrum of reactor cases. The experimental programme is being reviewed by the project steering bodies and consists (in principle) of the following series of tests:


  • Series S0. Two tests (CIP0-1 and CIP0-2) in the sodium loop aimed at providing data at high burn-up.
    All subsequent tests will be performed in the water loop.

  • Series S1. Two tests to provide comparison with S0 tests (and pulse width effect).

  • Series S2. Two tests on behaviour of very high burn-up fuel.

  • Series S3. Two tests on RIA phenomena and modelling.

  • Series S4. Two tests on MOX fuel behaviour.

  • Series S5. Two complementary tests to be specified.


Two tests have been carried out so far using fuel with very high burn-up and modern cladding materials. Subjected to energy injection beyond what is expected for power reactor cases, the two test fuel rods did not fail during the tests carried out in 2003. Planned future tests will aim to develop a consistent set of objectives and suitable fuel specimens. Post-irradiation examinations of the two tests that have been carried out so far were undertaken in 2004. They involved destructive examinations and investigated in particular the effect of hydrogen on cladding properties. The planning of future tests continues, with the aim of developing a consistent set of objectives and identifying suitable fuel specimens. Considerable progress was made on the refurbishment of the Cabri test facility and the preparation of the water loop installation, a process estimated to take three years to complete. The Cabri tests will in the future be complemented by additional RIA tests carried out in the the Japanese Nuclear Safety Research Reactor (NSRR).


Participating organisations:
Czech Rebublic: Nuclear Research Institute (NRI)
Finland: STUK - Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
Finland: Fortum Group
Finland: Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
Finland: Teollisuuden Voima OY
France: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
France: Electricite de France (EdF)
France: Institut de Protection et de Surete Nucleaire (IPSN)
Germany: Gesellschaft Fur Reaktorsicherheit (GRS), along with a consortium of German utilities
Japan: Japan Atomic Energy Agency
Republic of Korea: Korean Institute for Nuclear Safety (KINS)
Slovak Republic: Nuclear Power Plant Research Institute (VUJE)
Spain: Nuclear Safety Council (CSN)
Sweden: Stralsakerhetsmyndigheten (Swedish Radiation Safety Authority)
Switzerland: Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (HSK)
United Kingdom: Health > Safety Executive (HSE)
USA: Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (at USNRC)


Project period: 2000-2015


The distribution of this package is restricted and subject to prior approval.


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Keywords: coolant, fuel behaviour, high burnup, pressurized water reactor, pwr reactors, reactivity-induced accidents, transients.