Impact of Integral Burnable Absorbers on PWR Burnup Credit Criticality Safety Analyses

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The concept of taking credit for the reduction in reactivity of burned or spent nuclear fuel (SNF) due to fuel burnup is commonly referred to as burnup credit. The reduction in reactivity that occurs with fuel burnup is due to the net reduction of fissile nuclide concentrations and the production of actinide and fission-product neutron absorbers. The change in the inventory of these nuclides with fuel burnup, and the consequent reduction in reactivity, is dependent upon the depletion environment. Therefore, the use of burnup credit necessitates consideration of all possible fuel operating conditions, including the use of integral burnable absorbers ... continued below

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Sanders, C.E. July 20, 2001.

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The concept of taking credit for the reduction in reactivity of burned or spent nuclear fuel (SNF) due to fuel burnup is commonly referred to as burnup credit. The reduction in reactivity that occurs with fuel burnup is due to the net reduction of fissile nuclide concentrations and the production of actinide and fission-product neutron absorbers. The change in the inventory of these nuclides with fuel burnup, and the consequent reduction in reactivity, is dependent upon the depletion environment. Therefore, the use of burnup credit necessitates consideration of all possible fuel operating conditions, including the use of integral burnable absorbers (IBAs). The Interim Staff Guidance on burnup credit [1] issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Spent Fuel Project Office recommends licensees restrict the use of burnup credit to assemblies that have not used burnable absorbers (e.g., IBAs or burnable poison rods, BPRs). This restriction eliminates a large portion of the currently discharged spent fuel assemblies from cask loading, and thus severely limits the practical usefulness of burnup credit. The reason for this restriction is that the presence of burnable absorbers during depletion hardens the neutron spectrum, resulting in lower {sup 235}U depletion and higher production of fissile plutonium isotopes. Enhanced plutonium production has the effect of increasing the reactivity of the fuel at discharge and beyond. Consequently, an assembly exposed to burnable absorbers may have a slightly higher reactivity for a given burnup than an assembly that has not been exposed to burnable absorbers. This paper examines the effect of IBAs on reactivity for various designs and enrichment/poison loading combinations as a function of burnup. The effect of BPRs, which are typically removed during operation, is addressed elsewhere [2].

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  • 2001 ANS Embedded Topical Meetings on Practical Implementation of Nuclear Criticality Safety, Reno, NV (US), 11/11/2001--11/15/2001

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  • Report No.: P01-111316
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 788579
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc715918

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  • July 20, 2001

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • Jan. 19, 2016, 3:41 p.m.

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Sanders, C.E. Impact of Integral Burnable Absorbers on PWR Burnup Credit Criticality Safety Analyses, article, July 20, 2001; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc715918/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.