Development of Improved Burnable Poisons for Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors

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Burnable poisons are used in nuclear reactors to produce a more level distribution of power in the reactor core and to reduce to necessity for a large control system. An ideal burnable poison would burn at the same rate as the fuel. In this study, separation of neutron-absorbing isotopes was investigated in order to eliminate isotopes that remain as absorbers at the end of fuel life, thus reducing useful fuel life. The isotopes Gd-157, Dy-164, and Er-167 were found to have desirable properties. These isotopes were separated from naturally occurring elements by means of plasma separation to evaluate feasibility and ... continued below

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Bigelow, M. L. Grossbeck J-P.A. Renier Tim September 30, 2003.

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Burnable poisons are used in nuclear reactors to produce a more level distribution of power in the reactor core and to reduce to necessity for a large control system. An ideal burnable poison would burn at the same rate as the fuel. In this study, separation of neutron-absorbing isotopes was investigated in order to eliminate isotopes that remain as absorbers at the end of fuel life, thus reducing useful fuel life. The isotopes Gd-157, Dy-164, and Er-167 were found to have desirable properties. These isotopes were separated from naturally occurring elements by means of plasma separation to evaluate feasibility and cost. It was found that pure Gd-157 could save approximately $6 million at the end of four years. However, the cost of separation, using the existing facility, made separation cost- ineffective. Using a magnet with three times the field strength is expected to reduce the cost by a factor of ten, making isotopically separated burnable poisons a favorable method of increasing fuel life in commercial reactors, in particular Generation-IV reactors. The project also investigated various burnable poison configurations, and studied incorporation of metallic burnable poisons into fuel cladding.

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INIS; OSTI as DE00820689

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  • Other Information: PBD: 30 Sep 2003

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  • Report No.: RO11382079-01
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 820689
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc739371

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • September 30, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2018, 1:07 p.m.

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Bigelow, M. L. Grossbeck J-P.A. Renier Tim. Development of Improved Burnable Poisons for Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors, report, September 30, 2003; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc739371/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.