Simultaneous development of flow and temperature fields in the entrance region of fast breeder reactor (FBR) fuel pin bundles with helical spacer wires has been investigated by three-dimensional computational simulations. The Reynolds number, pitch of helical spacer wire and number of pins in the bundle are systematically varied. It is found that the magnitude of mean cross-stream velocity in the fully developed region is inversely proportional to the helical pitch length and it is nearly independent of the number of pins. But, there is a strong correlation between the locations of spacer wire and the peak cross-stream velocity. Flow attains full development at an axial length of 70 times hydraulic diameter in all the cases and this length is found to be unaffected by the helical pitch length. Friction factor is seen to fluctuate periodically over a mean value and the fluctuation over each helical pitch corresponds to a specific position of helical wire. The mean value of the friction factor in the entrance region reduces below the mean value in the fully developed region contrary to that seen in ducted flows. The mean fully developed friction factor is inversely proportional to the helical pitch. But, it is independent of the number of pins in the bundle. The Nusselt number passes through multiple minima before attaining fully developed periodic fluctuations and its development is slower than that of friction factor. For larger number of pins thermal development length is larger. Traditionally, the correlations reported for fully developed flow are considered for core design. But, the present study indicates that this approach is not conservative. Further, the entrance region effects and the oscillations in the fully developed region have to be properly accounted in the core design. Nusselt number exhibits a strong dependence on helical pitch similar to that of friction factor. A correlation for Nusselt number is proposed as a function of helical pitch and other influencing parameters. The hotspot factor in the pin bundle is found to vary from 3 to 4. Further, it increases, when either Reynolds number is low or the number of pins is more. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.