Falcon Development and Application
Under EPRI sponsorship, ANATECH, a Structural Integrity Associates company, developed the Falcon fuel performance code (and its predecessors FREY and DEFECT) for the analysis of fuel rod behavior during normal operation, power maneuvers, transients and postulated accidents, as well as during post primary failure operation.
As a finite-element based code, Falcon has versatile, 2-D geometric representation capabilities that can be used to model a full-length (R-Z) fuel rod or a local region (R-θ) of the fuel and cladding material and considers all aspects of nuclear fuel performance, including thermal, mechanical, chemical, and irradiation effects. We have performed fuel rod behavior analyses using Falcon for a wide range of applications including: fuel rod failure assessments during power maneuvers, development of reactor operational guidelines, evaluation of postulated accidents (RIA and LOCA), design and evaluation of in-reactor and ex-core experiments, assessment of unique materials such as SiC and Mo-composite cladding, and doped or additive fuels, and for LWR fuel design verification analyses.
The Falcon code is the basis of our PCI analysis and mitigation approach as well as the primary in-house tool used for steady state and transient analyses. Development of the code goes hand-in-hand with application. As the code developer, we have a unique ability through development and implementation of new models and code capability to respond to emerging technical issues as needed.