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Twelve fuel rods assembled in two axially separated clusters were irradiated in the Halden Boiling Water Reactor as IFA-562.1 from June 1987 to August 1989 in order to investigate the effect of pellet surface roughness on both fuel thermal and rod mechanical performances. As a second experimental objective the fuel grain growth caused by a power ramp at the end of the irradiation period was intended to investigate by PIE. To achieve the objectives fuel centre temperatures and clad elongation were measured in the fuel roads containing either rough or smooth pellets and filled with xenon or helium gas. To provide ideal conditions for the comparison of smooth and rough pellet rods' behaviour, the rods were fabricated with small fuel-clad gap size and the fuel temperatures were kept below 1200 C-degree during the base irradiation. The small initial gap size provided gap closure, and the low fuel centre temperature prevented both fission gas release and grain growth. Nevertheless, no systematic differences have been observed in either thermal or mechanical behaviour of the smooth and rough pellet rods. Consequently the effect of pellet surface roughness is insignificant in comparison with other influences as the pellet-cladding gap size change, fuel densification and relocation. During the final high power period the fuel temperature increase induced measurable grain growth in a few sample from the upper cluster.
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Keywords: BWR reactors, burnup, experimental data, fission products, fuel elements, fuel pellets, fuel rods, fuel-cladding interaction, thermal conductivity.