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Title: Neutronics Studies of Uranium-bearing Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated Fuel for PWRs

Our study evaluated the neutronics and some of the fuel cycle characteristics of using uranium-based fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuel in a pressurized water reactor (PWR). Specific PWR lattice designs with FCM fuel have been developed that are expected to achieve higher specific burnup levels in the fuel while also increasing the tolerance to reactor accidents. The SCALE software system was the primary analysis tool used to model the lattice designs. A parametric study was performed by varying tristructural isotropic particle design features (e.g., kernel diameter, coating layer thicknesses, and packing fraction) to understand the impact on reactivity and resulting operating cycle length. Moreover, to match the lifetime of an 18-month PWR cycle, the FCM particle fuel design required roughly 10% additional fissile material at beginning of life compared with that of a standard uranium dioxide (UO2) rod. Uranium mononitride proved to be a favorable fuel for the fuel kernel due to its higher heavy metal loading density compared with UO2. The FCM fuel designs evaluated maintain acceptable neutronics design features for fuel lifetime, lattice peaking factors, and nonproliferation figure of merit.
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 188; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5450
American Nuclear Society (ANS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
10 SYNTHETIC FUELS ATF; FCM; LWR; fuel; TRISO; fully ceramic microencapsulated; accident tolerant fuel; nuclear; reactor physics; neutronics