Improving the AGR Fuel Testing Power Density Profile Versus Irradiation-Time in the Advanced Test Reactor

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The Very High Temperature gas-cooled Reactor (VHTR), which is currently being developed, achieves simplification of safety through reliance on ceramic-coated fuel particles. Each TRISO-coated fuel particle has its own containment which serves as the principal barrier against radionuclide release under normal operating and accident conditions. These fuel particles, in the form of graphite fuel compacts, are currently undergoing a series of irradiation tests in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to support the Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor (AGR) fuel qualification program. A representive coated fuel particle with an 235U enrichment of 19.8 wt% was used in ... continued below

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Chang, Gray S.; Petti, David A.; Maki, John T. & Lillo, Misti A. May 1, 2009.

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The Very High Temperature gas-cooled Reactor (VHTR), which is currently being developed, achieves simplification of safety through reliance on ceramic-coated fuel particles. Each TRISO-coated fuel particle has its own containment which serves as the principal barrier against radionuclide release under normal operating and accident conditions. These fuel particles, in the form of graphite fuel compacts, are currently undergoing a series of irradiation tests in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to support the Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor (AGR) fuel qualification program. A representive coated fuel particle with an 235U enrichment of 19.8 wt% was used in this analysis. The fuel burnup analysis tool used to perform the neutronics study reported herein, couples the Monte Carlo transport code MCNP, with the radioactive decay and burnup code ORIGEN2. The fuel burnup methodology known as Monte-Carlo with ORIGEN2 (MCWO) was used to evaluate the AGR experiment assembly and demonstrate compliance with ATR safety requirements. For the AGR graphite fuel compacts, the MCWO-calculated fission power density (FPD) due to neutron fission in 235U is an important design parameter. One of the more important AGR fuel testing requirements is to maintain the peak fuel compact temperature close to 1250°C throughout the proposed irradiation campaign of 550 effective full power days (EFPDs). Based on the MCWO-calculated FPD, a fixed gas gap size was designed to allow regulation of the fuel compact temperatures throughout the entire fuel irradiation campaign by filling the gap with a mixture of helium and neon gases. The chosen fixed gas gap can only regulate the peak fuel compact temperature in the desired range during the irradiation test if the ratio of the peak power density to the time-dependent low power density (P/T) at 550 EFPDs is less than 2.5. However, given the near constant neutron flux within the ATR driver core and the depletion of 235U in the graphite fuel compacts versus EFPD, the P/T ratio was calculated to be 5.3, which is unacceptable given the fuel compact temperature control requirement. To flatten the FPD profile versus EFPDs, two proposed options are – (a) add fertile (232Th) particles to the fuel compact and (b) add burnable absorber (B4C) to the graphite holder. The effectiveness of these two proposed options to flatten the FPD profile versus EFPDs were investigated and the results are compared in this study.

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  • ICAPP '09,Shinjuku Tokoy, Japan,05/10/2009,05/14/2009

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-08-14951
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 957514
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931056

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  • May 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 2:22 p.m.

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Chang, Gray S.; Petti, David A.; Maki, John T. & Lillo, Misti A. Improving the AGR Fuel Testing Power Density Profile Versus Irradiation-Time in the Advanced Test Reactor, article, May 1, 2009; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931056/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.