Assessment of Possible Cycle Lengths for Fully-Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel-Based Light Water Reactor Concepts

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The tri-isotropic (TRISO) fuel developed for High Temperature reactors is known for its extraordinary fission product retention capabilities [1]. Recently, the possibility of extending the use of TRISO particle fuel to Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology, and perhaps other reactor concepts, has received significant attention [2]. The Deep Burn project [3] currently focuses on once-through burning of transuranic fissile and fissionable isotopes (TRU) in LWRs. The fuel form for this purpose is called Fully-Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel, a concept that borrows the TRISO fuel particle design from high temperature reactor technology, but uses SiC as a matrix material rather than ... continued below

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Sen, R. Sonat; Pope, Michael A.; Ougouag, Abderrafi M. & Pasamehmetoglu, Kemal O. April 1, 2012.

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The tri-isotropic (TRISO) fuel developed for High Temperature reactors is known for its extraordinary fission product retention capabilities [1]. Recently, the possibility of extending the use of TRISO particle fuel to Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology, and perhaps other reactor concepts, has received significant attention [2]. The Deep Burn project [3] currently focuses on once-through burning of transuranic fissile and fissionable isotopes (TRU) in LWRs. The fuel form for this purpose is called Fully-Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel, a concept that borrows the TRISO fuel particle design from high temperature reactor technology, but uses SiC as a matrix material rather than graphite. In addition, FCM fuel may also use a cladding made of a variety of possible material, again including SiC as an admissible choice. The FCM fuel used in the Deep Burn (DB) project showed promising results in terms of fission product retention at high burnup values and during high-temperature transients. In the case of DB applications, the fuel loading within a TRISO particle is constituted entirely of fissile or fissionable isotopes. Consequently, the fuel was shown to be capable of achieving reasonable burnup levels and cycle lengths, especially in the case of mixed cores (with coexisting DB and regular LWR UO2 fuels). In contrast, as shown below, the use of UO2-only FCM fuel in a LWR results in considerably shorter cycle length when compared to current-generation ordinary LWR designs. Indeed, the constraint of limited space availability for heavy metal loading within the TRISO particles of FCM fuel and the constraint of low (i.e., below 20 w/0) 235U enrichment combine to result in shorter cycle lengths compared to ordinary LWRs if typical LWR power densities are also assumed and if typical TRISO particle dimensions and UO2 kernels are specified. The primary focus of this summary is on using TRISO particles with up to 20 w/0 enriched uranium kernels loaded in Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) assemblies. In addition to consideration of this 'naive' use of TRISO fuel in LWRs, several refined options are briefly examined and others are identified for further consideration including the use of advanced, high density fuel forms and larger kernel diameters and TRISO packing fractions. The combination of 800 {micro}m diameter kernels of 20% enriched UN and 50% TRISO packing fraction yielded reactivity sufficient to achieve comparable burnup to present-day PWR fuel.

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  • International Topical Meeting on Advnaces in Reactor Physics (PHYSOR 2012),Knoxville Convention Center, Knoxville, TN,04/15/2012,04/20/2012

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-11-23312
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1047204
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc842953

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  • April 1, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 2:24 p.m.

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Sen, R. Sonat; Pope, Michael A.; Ougouag, Abderrafi M. & Pasamehmetoglu, Kemal O. Assessment of Possible Cycle Lengths for Fully-Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel-Based Light Water Reactor Concepts, article, April 1, 2012; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc842953/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.