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Title: Investigation of the Performance of D2O-Cooled High-Conversion Reactors for Fuel Cycle Calculations

This report presents FY13 activities for the analysis of D2O cooled tight-pitch High-Conversion PWRs (HCPWRs) with U-Pu and Th-U fueled cores aiming at break-even or near breeder conditions while retaining the negative void reactivity. The analyses are carried out from several aspects which could not be covered in FY12 activities. SCALE 6.1 code system is utilized, and a series of simple 3D fuel pin-cell models are developed in order to perform Monte Carlo based criticality and burnup calculations. The performance of U-Pu fueled cores with axial and internal blankets is analyzed in terms of their impact on the relative fissile Pu mass balance, initial Pu enrichment, and void coefficient. In FY12, Pu conversion performances of D2O-cooled HCPWRs fueled with MOX were evaluated with small sized axial/internal DU blankets (approximately 4cm of axial length) in order to ensure the negative void reactivity, which evidently limits the conversion performance of HCPWRs. In this fiscal year report, the axial sizes of DU blankets are extended up to 30 cm in order to evaluate the amount of DU necessary to reach break-even and/or breeding conditions. Several attempts are made in order to attain the milestone of the HCPWR designs (i.e., break-even condition and negativemore » void reactivity) by modeling of HCPWRs under different conditions such as boiling of D2O coolant, MOX with different 235U enrichment, and different target burnups. A similar set of analyses are performed for Th-U fueled cores. Several promising characteristics of 233U over other fissile like 239Pu and 235U, most notably its higher fission neutrons per absorption in thermal and epithermal ranges combined with lower ___ in the fast range than 239Pu allows Th-U cores to be taller than MOX ones. Such an advantage results in 4% higher relative fissile mass balance than that of U-Pu fueled cores while retaining the negative void reactivity until the target burnup of 51 GWd/t. Several other distinctions between U-Pu and Th-U fueled cores are identified by evaluating the sensitivity coefficients of keff, mass balance, and void coefficient. The effect of advanced iron alloy cladding (i.e., FeCrAl) on the performance of Pu conversion in MOX fueled cores is studied instead of using standard stainless-steel cladding. Variations in clad thickness and coolant-to-fuel volume ratio are also exercised. The use of FeCrAl instead of SS as a cladding alloy reduces the required Pu enrichment and improves the Pu conversion rate primarily due to the absence of nickel in the cladding alloy that results in the reduction of the neutron absorption. Also the difference in void coefficients between SS and FeCrAl alloys is nearly 500 pcm over the entire burnup range. The report also shows sensitivity and uncertainty analyses in order to characterize D2O cooled HCPWRs from different aspects. The uncertainties of integral parameters (keff and void coefficient) for selected reactor cores are evaluated at different burnup points in order to find similarities and trends respect to D2O-HCPWR.« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States