ATR LEU Monolithic Foil-Type Fuel with Integral Cladding Burnable Absorber – Neutronics Performance Evaluation Page: 2 of 12
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ATR LEU Monolithic Foil-Type Fuel with Integral Cladding Burnable
Absorber - Neutronics Performance Evaluation
Gray S. Chang
Idaho National Laboratory
2525 N. Fremont Ave.
Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3870
The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), currently operating in the United States, is used for
material testing at very high neutron fluxes. Powered with highly enriched uranium
(HEU), the ATR has a maximum thermal power rating of 250 MWth. Because of the
large test volumes located in high flux areas, the ATR is an ideal candidate for assessing
the feasibility of converting HEU driven reactor cores to low-enriched uranium (LEU)
cores. The burnable absorber - 10B, was added in the inner and outer plates to reduce the
initial excess reactivity, and to improve the peak ratio of the inner/outer heat flux. The
present work investigates the LEU Monolithic foil-type fuel with 10B Integral Cladding
Burnable Absorber (ICBA) design and evaluates the subsequent neutronics operating
effects of this proposed fuel designs. The proposed LEU fuel specification in this
work is directly related to both the RERTR LEU Development Program and the
Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) LEU Conversion Project at Idaho National
The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is a high power
density and high neutron flux research reactor operating in the United States. Powered with
highly enriched uranium (HEU), the ATR has a maximum thermal power rating of 250 MWth
with a maximum unperturbed thermal neutron flux rating of 1.0 x 1015 n/cm2-s. The conversion
of nuclear test reactors currently fueled with HEU to operate with low-enriched uranium (LEU)
is being addressed by the reduced enrichment for research and test reactors (RERTR) program.
The scope of this work is to assess the feasibility of converting the ATR HEU fuel to LEU fuel
while retaining all key functional and safety characteristics of the reactor. Using the current HEU
235U enrichment of 93.0 % as a baseline, this study will evaluate the LEU uranium density
required in the fuel meat to yield an equivalent K-eff between the ATR HEU core and an LEU
core after 150 effective full power days (EFPD) of operation with a total core power of 115 MW.
A lobe power of 23 MW is assumed for each of the five lobes. Then, the LEU 235U loading that
yields an equivalent K-eff as the HEU 235U loading will be used to predict radial, axial, and
azimuthal power distributions. 1B loading for LEU case studies will have 0.635 g in the LEU
fuel meat at the inner 2 fuel plates (1-2) and outer 2 fuel plates (18-19), which can achieve peak
to average ratios similar to those for the ATR reference HEU case study. The investigation of
this paper shows the optimized LEU Monolithic (U-IOMo) Foil-type with Integral Cladding
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Chang, Gray. ATR LEU Monolithic Foil-Type Fuel with Integral Cladding Burnable Absorber – Neutronics Performance Evaluation, article, March 1, 2012; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc835134/m1/2/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.