Reactor Physics Studies of Reduced-Tantaulum-Content Control and Safety Elements for the High Flux Isotope Reactor

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Some of the unirradiated High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) control elements discharged during the late 1990s were observed to have cladding damage--local swelling or blistering. The cladding damage was limited to the tantalum/europium interface of the element and is thought to result from interaction of hydrogen and europium to form a compound of lower density than europium oxide, thus leading to a ''blistering'' of the control plate cladding. Reducing the tantalum loading in the control plates should help preclude this phenomena. The impact of the change to the control plates on the operation of the reactor was assessed. Regarding nominal, ... continued below

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Primm, R.T., III November 1, 2003.

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Some of the unirradiated High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) control elements discharged during the late 1990s were observed to have cladding damage--local swelling or blistering. The cladding damage was limited to the tantalum/europium interface of the element and is thought to result from interaction of hydrogen and europium to form a compound of lower density than europium oxide, thus leading to a ''blistering'' of the control plate cladding. Reducing the tantalum loading in the control plates should help preclude this phenomena. The impact of the change to the control plates on the operation of the reactor was assessed. Regarding nominal, steady-state reactor operation, the impact of the change in the power distribution in the core due to reduced tantalum content was calculated and found to be insignificant. The magnitude and impact of the change in differential control element worth was calculated, and the differential worths of reduced tantalum elements vs the current elements from equivalent-burnup critical configurations were determined to be unchanged within the accuracy of the computational method and relevant experimental measurements. The location of the critical control elements symmetric positions for reduced tantalum elements was found to be 1/3 in. less withdrawn relative to existing control elements regardless of the value of fuel cycle burnup (time in the fuel cycle). The magnitude and impact of the change in the shutdown margin (integral rod worth) was assessed and found to be unchanged. Differential safety element worth values for the reduced-tantalum-content elements were calculated for postulated accident conditions and were found to be greater than values currently assumed in HFIR safety analyses.

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3 MB

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2003/65
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/890009 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 890009
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc876934

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  • November 1, 2003

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Oct. 20, 2016, 2:21 p.m.

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Primm, R.T., III. Reactor Physics Studies of Reduced-Tantaulum-Content Control and Safety Elements for the High Flux Isotope Reactor, report, November 1, 2003; Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc876934/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.