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Thermo-Mechanical Response of a TRISO Fuel Particle in a Fusion/Fission Engine for Incineration of Weapons Grade Plutonium

Description: The Laser Inertial Fusion-based (LIFE) engine is an advanced energy concept under development at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). LIFE engine could be used to drive a subcritical fission blanket with fertile or fissile fuel. Current LIFE engine designs envisages fuel in pebble bed form with TRISO (tristructural isotropic) particles embedded in a graphite matrix, and pebbles flowing in molten salt Flibe (2LiF+BeF{sub 2}) coolant at T {approx} 700C. Weapons-grade plutonium (WGPu) fuel is an attractive option for LIFE engine involving the achievement of high fractional burnups in a short lifetime frame. However, WGPu LIFE engine operating conditions of high neutron fast fluence, high radiation damage, and high Helium and Hydrogen production pose severe challenges for typical TRISO particles. The thermo-mechanical fuel performance code HUPPCO (High burn-Up fuel Pebble Performance COde) currently under development accounts for spatial and time dependence of the material elastic properties, temperature, and irradiation swelling and creep mechanisms. In this work, some aspects of the thermo-mechanical response of TRISO particles used for incineration of weapons grade fuel in LIFE engine are analyzed. Preliminary results show the importance of developing reliable high-fidelity models of the performance of these new fuel designs and the need of new experimental data relevant to WGPu LIFE conditions.
Date: December 8, 2009
Creator: Caro, M; DeMange, P; Marian, J & Caro, A
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department