Core Optimization of a Deep-Burn Pebble Bed Reactor

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Achieving a high fuel burnup in the Deep-Burn (DB) pebble bed reactor design, while remaining within the limits for fuel temperature, power peaking and temperature reactivity feedback, is challenging. The high content of Pu and Minor Actinides in the Deep-Burn fuel significantly impacts the thermal neutron energy spectrum as compared to a ’standard’ UO2 fueled core. This can result in power and temperature peaking in the pebble bed core in locally thermalized regions near the graphite reflectors. Furthermore, the interplay of the Pu resonances of the neutron absorption cross sections at low-lying energies can lead to a positive temperature reactivity ... continued below

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Boer, Brian & Ougouag, Abderrafi M. June 1, 2010.

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Achieving a high fuel burnup in the Deep-Burn (DB) pebble bed reactor design, while remaining within the limits for fuel temperature, power peaking and temperature reactivity feedback, is challenging. The high content of Pu and Minor Actinides in the Deep-Burn fuel significantly impacts the thermal neutron energy spectrum as compared to a ’standard’ UO2 fueled core. This can result in power and temperature peaking in the pebble bed core in locally thermalized regions near the graphite reflectors. Furthermore, the interplay of the Pu resonances of the neutron absorption cross sections at low-lying energies can lead to a positive temperature reactivity coefficient for the graphite moderator at certain operating conditions. The DB concept focuses on the destruction of spent fuel transuranics in TRISO coated particle fueled gas-cooled reactors with the aim of a fractional fuel burnup of 60-70% in fissions per initial metal atom (FIMA), using a single-pass, multi in-core fuel (re)cycling scheme. In principle, the DB pebble bed concept employs the same reactor designs as the present low enriched uranium core designs, i.e. the 400 MWth Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR-400). A Pu and Minor Actinide fueled PBMR-400 design serves as the starting point for a core optimization study. The fuel temperature, power peak, temperature reactivity coefficients, and burnup capabilities of the modified designs are analyzed with the PEBBED code. A code-to-code coupling with the PASTA code allows for the analysis of the TRISO fuel performance for both normal and Loss Of Forced Cooling conditions. An improved core design is sought, maximizing the fuel discharge burnup, while retaining negative temperature reactivity feedback coefficients for the entire temperature range and avoiding high fuel temperatures (fuel failure probabilities).

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  • ICAPP '10,San Diego, California,06/13/2010,06/17/2010

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-09-17393
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 986932
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014174

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • June 1, 2010

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 3, 2017, 4:32 p.m.

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Boer, Brian & Ougouag, Abderrafi M. Core Optimization of a Deep-Burn Pebble Bed Reactor, article, June 1, 2010; Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014174/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.