Advanced Test Reactor LEU Fuel Conversion Feasibility Study (2006 Annual Report)

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The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) 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. Because of these operating parameters, and the large test volumes located in high flux areas, the ATR is an ideal candidate for assessing the feasibility of converting an HEU driven reactor to a low-enriched core. The present work investigates the necessary modifications and evaluates the subsequent operating effects of ... continued below

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Chang, Gray S.; Ambrosek, Richard G. & Lillo, Misti A. December 1, 2006.

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The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) 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. Because of these operating parameters, and the large test volumes located in high flux areas, the ATR is an ideal candidate for assessing the feasibility of converting an HEU driven reactor to a low-enriched core. The present work investigates the necessary modifications and evaluates the subsequent operating effects of this conversion. A detailed plate-by-plate MCNP ATR 1/8th core model was developed and validated for a fuel cycle burnup comparison analysis. Using the current HEU U 235 enrichment of 93.0 % as a baseline, an analysis can be performed to determine the low-enriched uranium (LEU) density and U-235 enrichment required in the fuel meat to yield an equivalent K-eff between the HEU core and the LEU core versus effective full power days (EFPD). The MCNP ATR 1/8th core model will be used to optimize the U-235 loading in the LEU core, such that the differences in K-eff and heat profile between the HEU and LEU core can be minimized for operation at 125 EFPD with a total core power of 115 MW. The depletion methodology, Monte-Carlo coupled with ORIGEN2 (MCWO), was used to calculate K-eff versus EFPDs. The MCWO-calculated results for the LEU case demonstrated adequate excess reactivity such that the K-eff versus EFPDs plot is similar in shape to the reference ATR HEU case. The LEU core conversion feasibility study can also be used to optimize the U-235 content of each fuel plate, so that the relative radial fission heat flux profile is bounded by the reference ATR HEU case. The detailed radial, axial, and azimuthal heat flux profiles of the HEU and optimized LEU cases have been investigated. However, to demonstrate that the LEU core fuel cycle performance can meet the UFSAR safety requirements, additional studies will be necessary to evaluate and compare safety parameters such as void reactivity and Doppler coefficients, control components worth (outer shim control cylinders (OSCCs), safety rods and regulating rod), and shutdown margins between the HEU and LEU cores.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-06-11887
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/911863 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911863
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc888715

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  • December 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 3:54 p.m.

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Chang, Gray S.; Ambrosek, Richard G. & Lillo, Misti A. Advanced Test Reactor LEU Fuel Conversion Feasibility Study (2006 Annual Report), report, December 1, 2006; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc888715/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.