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Effect of Geometry Variation on Temperature Prediction in the TN-32 Used Nuclear Fuel Storage Cask
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During vacuum drying, low pressures in combination with the relatively high heat generation rate may cause the temperatures of the fuel cladding to exceed the limit of roughly 400°C set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The low pressures (rarefied gas) conditions within the cask may induce an additional thermal resistance for heat transfer by conduction at the solid-gas interface, and it is this resistance, also called “temperature-jump,” that causes the temperature of the used nuclear fuel assemblies to increase considerably.The objective of this work is to accurately predict the peak cladding temperature during the low-pressure conditions associated with vacuum drying. Other models and experimental results indicate that the peripheral basket-rail gap is the most sensitive component in peak cladding temperature (PCT) prediction within the continuum regime, and its sensitivity is even more pronounced for rarefied conditions. Several geometrically-accurate two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models were built in order to predict PCTs under conditions associated with vacuum drying while taking into account a variety of probable gap geometries.