Fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuel, a type of accident-tolerant fuel (ATF), consists of TRISO particles randomly dispersed in a SiC matrix. In this study, for a thermal analysis of the FCM fuel with such a high heterogeneity, a two-temperature homogenized thermal-conductivity model was applied by the authors. This model provides separate temperatures for the fuel-kernels and the SiC matrix. It also provides more realistic temperature profiles than those of harmonic- and volumetric-average thermal conductivity models, which are used for thermal analysis of a fuel element in VHTRs having a composition similar to the FCM fuel, because such models are unable to provide the fuel-kernel and graphite matrix temperatures separately.
In this study, coupled with a neutron diffusion model, a FCM fuel-loaded reactor core is analyzed via a two-temperature homogenized thermal-conductivity model at steady- and transient-states. The results are compared to those from harmonic- and volumetric-average thermal conductivity models, i.e., we compare k(eff) eigenvalues, power distributions, and temperature profiles in the hottest single-channel at steady-state. At transient-state, we compare total powers, reactivity, and maximum temperatures in the hottest single-channel obtained by the different thermal analysis models. The different thermal analysis models and the availability of fuel-kernel temperatures in the two-temperature homogenized thermal-conductivity model for Doppler temperature feedback cause significant differences as revealed by comparisons.