Neutronics and Thermal Hydraulics Study for Using a Low-Enriched Uranium Core in the Advanced Test Reactor -- 2008 Final 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. Because of 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 ... continued below

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Chang, G. S.; Lillo, M. A. & Ambrosek, R. G. June 1, 2008.

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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. Because of 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 was performed to determine the low-enriched uranium (LEU) density and U-235 enrichment required in the fuel meat to yield an equivalent K-eff versus effective full power days (EFPDs) between the HEU and the LEU cores. The MCNP ATR 1/8th core model was used to optimize the U 235 loading in the LEU core, such that the differences in K-eff and heat flux profiles between the HEU and LEU cores were minimized. The depletion methodology MCWO was used to calculate K-eff versus EFPDs in this paper. The MCWO-calculated results for the LEU demonstrated adequate excess reactivity such that the K-eff versus EFPDs plot is similar to the ATR reference HEU case study. Each HEU fuel element contains 19 fuel plates with a fuel meat thickness of 0.508 mm (20 mil). In this work, the proposed LEU (U-10Mo) core conversion case with nominal fuel meat thickness of 0.330 mm (13 mil) and U-235 enrichment of 19.7 wt% is used to optimize the radial heat flux profile by varying the fuel meat thickness from 0.191 mm (7.0 mil) to 0.330 mm (13.0 mil) at the inner 4 fuel plates (1-4) and outer 4 fuel plates (16-19). A 0.8g of Boron-10, a burnable absorber, was added in the inner and outer plates to reduce the initial excess reactivity, and the peak to average ratio of the inner/outer heat flux more effectively. Because the B-10 (n,a) reaction will produce Helium-4 (He-4), which might degrade the LEU foil type fuel performance, an alternative absorber option is proposed. The proposed LEU case study will have 6.918 g of Cadmium (Cd) mixed with the LEU at the inner 4 fuel plates (1-4) and outer 4 fuel plates (16-19) as a burnable absorber to achieve peak to average ratios similar to those for the ATR reference HEU case study.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-08-13980
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/936617 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936617
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902183

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  • June 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 18, 2016, 7:08 p.m.

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Chang, G. S.; Lillo, M. A. & Ambrosek, R. G. Neutronics and Thermal Hydraulics Study for Using a Low-Enriched Uranium Core in the Advanced Test Reactor -- 2008 Final Report, report, June 1, 2008; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902183/: accessed May 28, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.