Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) Deep Burn Core and Fuel Analysis -- Complete Design Selection for the Pebble Bed Reactor

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The Deep-Burn (DB) concept focuses on the destruction of transuranic nuclides from used light water reactor fuel. These transuranic nuclides are incorporated into TRISO coated fuel particles and used in gas-cooled reactors with the aim of a fractional fuel burnup of 60 to 70% in fissions per initial metal atom (FIMA). This high performance is expected through the use of multiple recirculation passes of the fuel in pebble form without any physical or chemical changes between passes. In particular, the concept does not call for reprocessing of the fuel between passes. In principle, the DB pebble bed concept employs the ... continued below

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Boer, B. & Ougouag, A. M. September 1, 2010.

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The Deep-Burn (DB) concept focuses on the destruction of transuranic nuclides from used light water reactor fuel. These transuranic nuclides are incorporated into TRISO coated fuel particles and used in gas-cooled reactors with the aim of a fractional fuel burnup of 60 to 70% in fissions per initial metal atom (FIMA). This high performance is expected through the use of multiple recirculation passes of the fuel in pebble form without any physical or chemical changes between passes. In particular, the concept does not call for reprocessing of the fuel between passes. In principle, the DB pebble bed concept employs the same reactor designs as the presently envisioned low-enriched uranium core designs, such as the 400 MWth Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR-400). Although it has been shown in the previous Fiscal Year (2009) that a PuO2 fueled pebble bed reactor concept is viable, achieving a high fuel burnup, while remaining within safety-imposed prescribed operational limits for fuel temperature, power peaking and temperature reactivity feedback coefficients for the entire temperature range, is challenging. The presence of the isotopes 239-Pu, 240-Pu and 241-Pu that have resonances in the thermal energy range significantly modifies the neutron thermal energy spectrum as compared to a ”standard,” UO2-fueled core. Therefore, the DB pebble bed core exhibits a relatively hard neutron energy spectrum. However, regions within the pebble bed that are near the graphite reflectors experience a locally softer spectrum. This can lead to power and temperature peaking in these regions. Furthermore, a shift of the thermal energy spectrum with increasing temperature can lead to increased absorption in the resonances of the fissile Pu isotopes. This can lead to a positive temperature reactivity coefficient for the graphite moderator under certain operating conditions. The effort of this task in FY 2010 has focused on the optimization of the core to maximize the pebble discharge burnup level, while retaining its inherent safety characteristics. Using generic pebble bed reactor cores, this task will perform physics calculations to evaluate the capabilities of the pebble bed reactor to perform utilization and destruction of LWR used-fuel transuranics. The task will use established benchmarked models, and will introduce modeling advancements appropriate to the nature of the fuel considered (high TRU content and high burn-up).

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-10-19575
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/991896 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 991896
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014826

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  • September 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 3, 2017, 5:26 p.m.

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Boer, B. & Ougouag, A. M. Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) Deep Burn Core and Fuel Analysis -- Complete Design Selection for the Pebble Bed Reactor, report, September 1, 2010; Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014826/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.