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The irradiation of the first MOX nuclear fuel rods fabricated in Argentina began in 1986. These experiences were made in the HFR-Petten reactor, Holland. The six rods were fabricated in the a Facility (GAID-CNEA-Argentina).
The first rod has been used for destructive pre-irradiation characterization in the KFK (Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe), Germany. The second one was a pathfinder for calibrating HFR systems in Petten. Two other rods included pellets doped with iodine. The first contained mostly CsI whilst the second contained elemental iodine. The concentration of iodine was intended to simulate a burn-up of 15000 MWd/ton(M).
The power histories were defined from calculations performed with the BACO code. A 15 day cycle was assumed with a power history that induced PCMI during power cycling. The last high power period was maintained until stress corrosion cracking (SCC) was induced. Two further un-doped rods were used in a sub-program named BU15. Here a burn-up of 15000 MWd/ton(M) was achieved at a low power followed by a final power ramp for one of the rods. The ramp was similar to that used for the Iodine test.
The HFR irradiation was conducted satisfactorily. The objective was to attempt a correspondence in behaviour between the doped rods and BU15 rods. PIE detected the presence of microcracks inside the cladding of the iodine doped rods.
Ramping of the BU15 rod was interrupted when an increase of coolant activity was detected. After discharge, a visual inspection of the rod showed the presence of a small circular hole in the cladding. Additional PIE showed that the hole was due to a SCC failure.
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Keywords: data, experimental data, fuel rods, irradiation.