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Title: Decay Heat Calculations for PWR and BWR Assemblies Fueled with Uranium and Plutonium Mixed Oxide Fuel using SCALE

Abstract

In currently operating commercial nuclear power plants (NPP), there are two main types of nuclear fuel, low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, and mixed-oxide uranium-plutonium (MOX) fuel. The LEU fuel is made of pure uranium dioxide (UO{sub 2} or UOX) and has been the fuel of choice in commercial light water reactors (LWRs) for a number of years. Naturally occurring uranium contains a mixture of different uranium isotopes, primarily, {sup 235}U and {sup 238}U. {sup 235}U is a fissile isotope, and will readily undergo a fission reaction upon interaction with a thermal neutron. {sup 235}U has an isotopic concentration of 0.71% in naturally occurring uranium. For most reactors to maintain a fission chain reaction, the natural isotopic concentration of {sup 235}U must be increased (enriched) to a level greater than 0.71%. Modern nuclear reactor fuel assemblies contain a number of fuel pins potentially having different {sup 235}U enrichments varying from {approx}2.0% to {approx}5% enriched in {sup 235}U. Currently in the United States (US), all commercial nuclear power plants use UO{sub 2} fuel. In the rest of the world, UO{sub 2} fuel is still commonly used, but MOX fuel is also used in a number of reactors. MOX fuel contains a mixturemore » of both UO{sub 2} and PuO{sub 2}. Because the plutonium provides the fissile content of the fuel, the uranium used in MOX is either natural or depleted uranium. PuO{sub 2} is added to effectively replace the fissile content of {sup 235}U so that the level of fissile content is sufficiently high to maintain the chain reaction in an LWR. Both reactor-grade and weapons-grade plutonium contains a number of fissile and non-fissile plutonium isotopes, with the fraction of fissile and non-fissile plutonium isotopes being dependent on the source of the plutonium. While only RG plutonium is currently used in MOX, there is the possibility that WG plutonium from dismantled weapons will be used to make MOX for use in US reactors. Reactor-grade plutonium in MOX fuel is generally obtained from reprocessed irradiated nuclear fuel, whereas weapons-grade plutonium is obtained from decommissioned nuclear weapons material and thus has a different plutonium (and other actinides) concentration. Using MOX fuel instead of UOX fuel has potential impacts on the neutronic performance of the nuclear fuel and the design of the nuclear fuel must take these differences into account. Each of the plutonium sources (RG and WG) has different implications on the neutronic behavior of the fuel because each contains a different blend of plutonium nuclides. The amount of heat and the number of neutrons produced from fission of plutonium nuclides is different from fission of {sup 235}U. These differences in UOX and MOX do not end at discharge of the fuel from the reactor core - the short- and long-term storage of MOX fuel may have different requirements than UOX fuel because of the different discharged fuel decay heat characteristics. The research documented in this report compares MOX and UOX fuel during storage and disposal of the fuel by comparing decay heat rates for typical pressurized water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel assemblies with and without weapons-grade (WG) and reactor-grade (RG) MOX fuel.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1028163
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2011/290
NN6003030; MDGA507; TRN: US1105414
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; AFTER-HEAT; BWR TYPE REACTORS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTER CALCULATIONS; FUEL ASSEMBLIES; MIXED OXIDE FUELS; NUCLEAR DECAY; NUCLEAR FUELS; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; PLUTONIUM; PWR TYPE REACTORS; S CODES; URANIUM; URANIUM DIOXIDE

Citation Formats

Ade, Brian J, and Gauld, Ian C. Decay Heat Calculations for PWR and BWR Assemblies Fueled with Uranium and Plutonium Mixed Oxide Fuel using SCALE. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1028163.
Ade, Brian J, & Gauld, Ian C. Decay Heat Calculations for PWR and BWR Assemblies Fueled with Uranium and Plutonium Mixed Oxide Fuel using SCALE. United States. doi:10.2172/1028163.
Ade, Brian J, and Gauld, Ian C. Sat . "Decay Heat Calculations for PWR and BWR Assemblies Fueled with Uranium and Plutonium Mixed Oxide Fuel using SCALE". United States. doi:10.2172/1028163. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1028163.
@article{osti_1028163,
title = {Decay Heat Calculations for PWR and BWR Assemblies Fueled with Uranium and Plutonium Mixed Oxide Fuel using SCALE},
author = {Ade, Brian J and Gauld, Ian C},
abstractNote = {In currently operating commercial nuclear power plants (NPP), there are two main types of nuclear fuel, low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, and mixed-oxide uranium-plutonium (MOX) fuel. The LEU fuel is made of pure uranium dioxide (UO{sub 2} or UOX) and has been the fuel of choice in commercial light water reactors (LWRs) for a number of years. Naturally occurring uranium contains a mixture of different uranium isotopes, primarily, {sup 235}U and {sup 238}U. {sup 235}U is a fissile isotope, and will readily undergo a fission reaction upon interaction with a thermal neutron. {sup 235}U has an isotopic concentration of 0.71% in naturally occurring uranium. For most reactors to maintain a fission chain reaction, the natural isotopic concentration of {sup 235}U must be increased (enriched) to a level greater than 0.71%. Modern nuclear reactor fuel assemblies contain a number of fuel pins potentially having different {sup 235}U enrichments varying from {approx}2.0% to {approx}5% enriched in {sup 235}U. Currently in the United States (US), all commercial nuclear power plants use UO{sub 2} fuel. In the rest of the world, UO{sub 2} fuel is still commonly used, but MOX fuel is also used in a number of reactors. MOX fuel contains a mixture of both UO{sub 2} and PuO{sub 2}. Because the plutonium provides the fissile content of the fuel, the uranium used in MOX is either natural or depleted uranium. PuO{sub 2} is added to effectively replace the fissile content of {sup 235}U so that the level of fissile content is sufficiently high to maintain the chain reaction in an LWR. Both reactor-grade and weapons-grade plutonium contains a number of fissile and non-fissile plutonium isotopes, with the fraction of fissile and non-fissile plutonium isotopes being dependent on the source of the plutonium. While only RG plutonium is currently used in MOX, there is the possibility that WG plutonium from dismantled weapons will be used to make MOX for use in US reactors. Reactor-grade plutonium in MOX fuel is generally obtained from reprocessed irradiated nuclear fuel, whereas weapons-grade plutonium is obtained from decommissioned nuclear weapons material and thus has a different plutonium (and other actinides) concentration. Using MOX fuel instead of UOX fuel has potential impacts on the neutronic performance of the nuclear fuel and the design of the nuclear fuel must take these differences into account. Each of the plutonium sources (RG and WG) has different implications on the neutronic behavior of the fuel because each contains a different blend of plutonium nuclides. The amount of heat and the number of neutrons produced from fission of plutonium nuclides is different from fission of {sup 235}U. These differences in UOX and MOX do not end at discharge of the fuel from the reactor core - the short- and long-term storage of MOX fuel may have different requirements than UOX fuel because of the different discharged fuel decay heat characteristics. The research documented in this report compares MOX and UOX fuel during storage and disposal of the fuel by comparing decay heat rates for typical pressurized water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel assemblies with and without weapons-grade (WG) and reactor-grade (RG) MOX fuel.},
doi = {10.2172/1028163},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {10}
}

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