Reactor Physics Parametric and Depletion Studies in Support of TRISO Particle Fuel Specification for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant

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Reactor physics calculations were initiated to answer several major questions related to the proposed TRISO-coated particle fuel that is to be used in the prismatic Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) or the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). These preliminary design evaluation calculations help ensure that the upcoming fuel irradiation tests will test appropriate size and type of fuel particles for a future NGNP reactor design. Conclusions from these calculations are expected to confirm and suggest possible modifications to the current particle fuel parameters specified in the evolving Fuel Specification. Calculated results dispel the need for a binary fuel particle system, ... continued below

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Sterbentz, James W.; Phillips, Bren; Sant, Robert L.; Chang, Gray S. & Bayless, Paul D. September 1, 2003.

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Reactor physics calculations were initiated to answer several major questions related to the proposed TRISO-coated particle fuel that is to be used in the prismatic Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) or the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). These preliminary design evaluation calculations help ensure that the upcoming fuel irradiation tests will test appropriate size and type of fuel particles for a future NGNP reactor design. Conclusions from these calculations are expected to confirm and suggest possible modifications to the current particle fuel parameters specified in the evolving Fuel Specification. Calculated results dispel the need for a binary fuel particle system, which is proposed in the General Atomics GT-MHR concept. The GT-MHR binary system is composed of both a fissile and fertile particle with 350- and 500- micron kernel diameters, respectively. For the NGNP reactor, a single fissile particle system (single UCO kernel size) can meet the reactivity and power cycle length requirements demanded of the NGNP. At the same time, it will provide substantial programmatic cost savings by eliminating the need for dual particle fabrication process lines and dual fuel particle irradiation tests required of a binary system. Use of a larger 425-micron kernel diameter single fissile particle (proposed here), as opposed to the 350-micron GT-MHR fissile particle size, helps alleviate current compact particle packing fractions fabrication limitations (<35%), improves fuel block loading for higher n-batch reload options, and tracks the historical correlation between particle size and enrichment (10 and 14 wt% U-235 particle enrichments are proposed for the NGNP). Overall, the use of the slightly larger kernel significantly broadens the NGNP reactor core design envelope and provides increased design margin to accommodate the (as yet) unknown final NGNP reactor design. Maximum power-peaking factors are calculated for both the initial and equilibrium NGNP cores. Radial power-peaking can be fully controlled with particle packing fraction zoning (no enrichment zoning required) and discrete burnable poison rods. Optimally loaded NGNP cores can expect radial powerpeaking factors as low as 1.14 at beginning of cycle (BOC), increasing slowly to a value of 1.25 by end of cycle (EOC), an axial power-peaking value of 1.30 (BOC), and for individual fuel particles in the maximum compact <1.05 (BOC) and an approximate value of 1.20 (EOC) due to Pu-239 buildup in particles on the compact periphery. The NGNP peak particle powers, using a conservative total power-peaking factor (~2.1 factor), are expected to be <150 mW/particle (well below the 250 mW/particle limit, even with the larger 425-micron kernel size).

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-04-02331
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/910955 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 910955
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc889865

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  • September 1, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 4:45 p.m.

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Sterbentz, James W.; Phillips, Bren; Sant, Robert L.; Chang, Gray S. & Bayless, Paul D. Reactor Physics Parametric and Depletion Studies in Support of TRISO Particle Fuel Specification for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant, report, September 1, 2003; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc889865/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.