Design Study for a Low-enriched Uranium Core for the High Flux Isotope Reactor, Annual Report for FY 2007

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This report documents progress made during fiscal year 2007 in studies of converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) from highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low enriched uranium fuel (LEU). Conversion from HEU to LEU will require a change in fuel form from uranium oxide to a uranium-molybdenum alloy. A high volume fraction U/Mo-in-Al fuel could attain the same neutron flux performance as with the current, HEU fuel but materials considerations appear to preclude production and irradiation of such a fuel. A diffusion barrier would be required if Al is to be retained as the interstitial medium and the ... continued below

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Primm, Trent; Ellis, Ronald James; Gehin, Jess C; Ilas, Germina; Miller, James Henry & Sease, John D November 1, 2007.

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Description

This report documents progress made during fiscal year 2007 in studies of converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) from highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low enriched uranium fuel (LEU). Conversion from HEU to LEU will require a change in fuel form from uranium oxide to a uranium-molybdenum alloy. A high volume fraction U/Mo-in-Al fuel could attain the same neutron flux performance as with the current, HEU fuel but materials considerations appear to preclude production and irradiation of such a fuel. A diffusion barrier would be required if Al is to be retained as the interstitial medium and the additional volume required for this barrier would degrade performance. Attaining the high volume fraction (55 wt. %) of U/Mo assumed in the computational study while maintaining the current fuel plate acceptance level at the fuel manufacturer is unlikely, i.e. no increase in the percentage of plates rejected for non-compliance with the fuel specification. Substitution of a zirconium alloy for Al would significantly increase the weight of the fuel element, the cost of the fuel element, and introduce an as-yet untried manufacturing process. A monolithic U-10Mo foil is the choice of LEU fuel for HFIR. Preliminary calculations indicate that with a modest increase in reactor power, the flux performance of the reactor can be maintained at the current level. A linearly-graded, radial fuel thickness profile is preferred to the arched profile currently used in HEU fuel because the LEU fuel media is a metal alloy foil rather than a powder. Developments in analysis capability and nuclear data processing techniques are underway with the goal of verifying the preliminary calculations of LEU flux performance. A conceptual study of the operational cost of an LEU fuel fabrication facility yielded the conclusion that the annual fuel cost to the HFIR would increase significantly from the current, HEU fuel cycle. Though manufacturing can be accomplished with existing technology, several engineering proof-of-principle tests would be required. The RERTR program is currently conducting a series of generic fuel qualification tests at the Advanced Test Reactor. A review of these tests and a review of the safety basis for the current, HEU fuel cycle led to the identification of a set of HFIR-specific fuel qualification tests. Much additional study is required to formulate a HFIR-specific fuel qualification plan from this set. However, one such test - creating a graded fuel profile across a flat foil - has been initiated with promising results.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2007/213
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/931091 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 931091
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899974

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 7:40 p.m.

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Primm, Trent; Ellis, Ronald James; Gehin, Jess C; Ilas, Germina; Miller, James Henry & Sease, John D. Design Study for a Low-enriched Uranium Core for the High Flux Isotope Reactor, Annual Report for FY 2007, report, November 1, 2007; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899974/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.