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Title: Technical Basis for Peak Reactivity Burnup Credit for BWR Spent Nuclear Fuel in Storage and Transportation Systems

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission have initiated a multiyear project to investigate application of burnup credit for boiling-water reactor (BWR) fuel in storage and transportation casks. This project includes two phases. The first phase (1) investigates applicability of peak reactivity methods currently used in spent fuel pools (SFPs) to storage and transportation systems and (2) evaluates validation of both reactivity (keff) calculations and burnup credit nuclide concentrations within these methods. The second phase will focus on extending burnup credit beyond peak reactivity. This paper documents the first phase, including an analysis of lattice design parameters and depletion effects, as well as both validation components. Initial efforts related to extended burnup credit are discussed in a companion paper. Peak reactivity analyses have been used in criticality analyses for licensing of BWR fuel in SFPs over the last 20 years. These analyses typically combine credit for the gadolinium burnable absorber present in the fuel with a modest amount of burnup credit. Gadolinium burnable absorbers are used in BWR assemblies to control core reactivity. The burnable absorber significantly reduces assembly reactivity at beginning of life, potentially leading to significant increases in assembly reactivity for burnups less thanmore » 15–20 GWd/MTU. The reactivity of each fuel lattice is dependent on gadolinium loading. The number of gadolinium-bearing fuel pins lowers initial lattice reactivity, but it has a small impact on the burnup and reactivity of the peak. The gadolinium concentration in each pin has a small impact on initial lattice reactivity but a significant effect on the reactivity of the peak and the burnup at which the peak occurs. The importance of the lattice parameters and depletion conditions are primarily determined by their impact on the gadolinium depletion. Criticality code validation for BWR burnup credit at peak reactivity requires a different set of experiments than for pressurized-water reactor burnup credit analysis because of differences in actinide compositions, presence of residual gadolinium absorber, and lower fission product concentrations. A survey of available critical experiments is presented along with a sample criticality code validation and determination of undercoverage penalties for some nuclides. The validation of depleted fuel compositions at peak reactivity presents many challenges which largely result from a lack of radiochemical assay data applicable to BWR fuel in this burnup range. In addition, none of the existing low burnup measurement data include residual gadolinium measurements. An example bias and uncertainty associated with validation of actinide-only fuel compositions is presented.« less
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  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
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Resource Relation:
Conference: ICNC 2015, Charlotte, NC, USA, 20150913, 20150917
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
ORNL work for others
Country of Publication:
United States