Boron carbide rod degradation test and associated releases.
The experimental programme becarre (2001-2010) belongs to the international “source term” programme. The becarre programme Objectives involve better understanding the degradation phenomena occurring in boron carbide (B4c) control rods during a core meltdown accident and determining the laws governing steam oxidation of B4c pellets and relocated mixtures. These laws will be used to both quantify the gases produced during oxidation, and estimate their potential effect upon iodine releases into the environment. The programme results will help improve the icare 2 code which is being developed by irsn.
Gaseous releases are continuously measured by a mass spectrometer connected to the furnace outlet. After each test, the different samples are subject to metallographic examination to determine the degradation mechanism : interactions between materials, formation and liquefaction of mixtures, and formation of oxide layers. These examinations are performed with an electron microprobe. As part of tests conducted in the Intermezzo furnace, non-destructive examinations (radiography and tomography) are also performed on control rod sections to characterise their state of degradation.
Facility is not operating.