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Title: Dissolution Flowsheet for High Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel

Abstract

As part of the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) processing campaign, H-Canyon is planning to begin dissolving High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel in late FY17 or early FY18. Each HFIR fuel core contains inner and outer fuel elements which were fabricated from uranium oxide (U 3O 8) dispersed in a continuous Al phase using traditional powder metallurgy techniques. Fuels fabricated in this manner, like other SNF’s processed in H-Canyon, dissolve by the same general mechanisms with similar gas generation rates and the production of H 2. The HFIR fuel cores will be dissolved and the recovered U will be down-blended into low-enriched U. HFIR fuel was previously processed in H-Canyon using a unique insert in both the 6.1D and 6.4D dissolvers. Multiple cores will be charged to the same dissolver solution maximizing the concentration of dissolved Al. The objective of this study was to identify flowsheet conditions through literature review and laboratory experimentation to safely and efficiently dissolve the HFIR fuel in H-Canyon. Laboratory-scale experiments were performed to evaluate the dissolution of HFIR fuel using both Al 1100 and Al 6061 T6 alloy coupons. The Al 1100 alloy was considered a representative surrogate which provided an upper bound on themore » generation of flammable (i.e., H 2) gas during the dissolution process. The dissolution of the Al 6061 T6 alloy proceeded at a slower rate than the Al 1100 alloy, and was used to verify that the target Al concentration in solution could be achieved for the selected Hg concentration. Mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy were used to provide continuous monitoring of the concentration of H 2 and other permanent gases in the dissolution offgas, allowing the development of H 2 generation rate profiles. The H 2 generation rates were subsequently used to evaluate if a full HFIR core could be dissolved in an H-Canyon dissolver without exceeding 60% of the calculated lower flammability limit (LFL) for H 2 at a given Hg concentration. Complete dissolution of the Al 1100 and Al 6061 T6 alloys up to a final Al concentration of 2 M was obtained using a 7 M HNO 3 solution containing a 0.002 M Hg catalyst. However, following the dissolutions, solids were observed in the solution. The solids were amorphous, but likely originated from the Si present in the alloys. No crystalline materials, such as Al(NO 3) 3 were observed. During the course of the dissolution experiments, it was determined that delaying the addition of Hg once the HNO 3 solution reached the boiling point can reduce the total offgas and H 2 generation rates. The delay in starting the Hg addition is not necessary for HFIR fuel dissolution, but could be useful in other research reactor dissolution campaigns. The potential to generate flammable concentrations of H 2 in the offgas during a HFIR fuel dissolution was evaluated using the experimental data. The predicted H 2 concentration in the dissolver offgas stream was compared with 60% of the calculated H 2 LFL at 200 °C using several prototypical experiments. The calculations showed that a full HFIR core can be dissolved using nominally 0.002 M Hg to catalyze the dissolution. The margin between the predicted H 2 concentration and the calculated LFL was greater when the solution was allowed to boil for 45 min prior to initiating the Hg addition. When the Hg was increased to 0.004 M, the predicted H 2 concentration exceeded the calculated LFL early in the dissolution. The dissolution experiments also demonstrated that additional Hg (beyond the initial 0.002 M) could be added as the Al concentration increases. The ability to add more Hg during a HFIR fuel dissolution could be beneficial if slow dissolution rates are observed at high Al concentrations. Experimental data were used to demonstrate that the predicted H 2 concentration in a dissolver was below 60% of the calculated LFL at 200 °C when 0.004 M Hg was used to catalyze the dissolution if the Al concentration is conservatively greater than 0.5 M. Data also show that the Hg concentration during a HFIR fuel dissolution can be increased from 0.002 to 0.008 M at an Al concentration of 1.3 M.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
1327788
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2016-00485
TRN: US1700321
DOE Contract Number:
AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; SPENT FUELS; TEMPERATURE RANGE 0400-1000 K; HFIR REACTOR; HYDROGEN; CONCENTRATION RATIO; SOLUTIONS; URANIUM OXIDES U3O8; DISSOLUTION; EXPERIMENTAL DATA; DISSOLVERS; FLOWSHEETS; NITRIC ACID; ALUMINIUM BASE ALLOYS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; FUEL ELEMENTS; BOILING; FLAMMABILITY; BENCH-SCALE EXPERIMENTS; CATALYSTS; MERCURY; REPROCESSING; LIMITING VALUES; SAVANNAH RIVER PLANT; HFIR; Spent Fuel; H-Canyon

Citation Formats

Daniel, W. E., Rudisill, T. S., O'Rourke, P. E., and Karay, N. S. Dissolution Flowsheet for High Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1327788.
Daniel, W. E., Rudisill, T. S., O'Rourke, P. E., & Karay, N. S. Dissolution Flowsheet for High Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1327788.
Daniel, W. E., Rudisill, T. S., O'Rourke, P. E., and Karay, N. S. 2016. "Dissolution Flowsheet for High Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1327788. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1327788.
@article{osti_1327788,
title = {Dissolution Flowsheet for High Flux Isotope Reactor Fuel},
author = {Daniel, W. E. and Rudisill, T. S. and O'Rourke, P. E. and Karay, N. S},
abstractNote = {As part of the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) processing campaign, H-Canyon is planning to begin dissolving High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel in late FY17 or early FY18. Each HFIR fuel core contains inner and outer fuel elements which were fabricated from uranium oxide (U3O8) dispersed in a continuous Al phase using traditional powder metallurgy techniques. Fuels fabricated in this manner, like other SNF’s processed in H-Canyon, dissolve by the same general mechanisms with similar gas generation rates and the production of H2. The HFIR fuel cores will be dissolved and the recovered U will be down-blended into low-enriched U. HFIR fuel was previously processed in H-Canyon using a unique insert in both the 6.1D and 6.4D dissolvers. Multiple cores will be charged to the same dissolver solution maximizing the concentration of dissolved Al. The objective of this study was to identify flowsheet conditions through literature review and laboratory experimentation to safely and efficiently dissolve the HFIR fuel in H-Canyon. Laboratory-scale experiments were performed to evaluate the dissolution of HFIR fuel using both Al 1100 and Al 6061 T6 alloy coupons. The Al 1100 alloy was considered a representative surrogate which provided an upper bound on the generation of flammable (i.e., H2) gas during the dissolution process. The dissolution of the Al 6061 T6 alloy proceeded at a slower rate than the Al 1100 alloy, and was used to verify that the target Al concentration in solution could be achieved for the selected Hg concentration. Mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy were used to provide continuous monitoring of the concentration of H2 and other permanent gases in the dissolution offgas, allowing the development of H2 generation rate profiles. The H2 generation rates were subsequently used to evaluate if a full HFIR core could be dissolved in an H-Canyon dissolver without exceeding 60% of the calculated lower flammability limit (LFL) for H2 at a given Hg concentration. Complete dissolution of the Al 1100 and Al 6061 T6 alloys up to a final Al concentration of 2 M was obtained using a 7 M HNO3 solution containing a 0.002 M Hg catalyst. However, following the dissolutions, solids were observed in the solution. The solids were amorphous, but likely originated from the Si present in the alloys. No crystalline materials, such as Al(NO3)3 were observed. During the course of the dissolution experiments, it was determined that delaying the addition of Hg once the HNO3 solution reached the boiling point can reduce the total offgas and H2 generation rates. The delay in starting the Hg addition is not necessary for HFIR fuel dissolution, but could be useful in other research reactor dissolution campaigns. The potential to generate flammable concentrations of H2 in the offgas during a HFIR fuel dissolution was evaluated using the experimental data. The predicted H2 concentration in the dissolver offgas stream was compared with 60% of the calculated H2 LFL at 200 °C using several prototypical experiments. The calculations showed that a full HFIR core can be dissolved using nominally 0.002 M Hg to catalyze the dissolution. The margin between the predicted H2 concentration and the calculated LFL was greater when the solution was allowed to boil for 45 min prior to initiating the Hg addition. When the Hg was increased to 0.004 M, the predicted H2 concentration exceeded the calculated LFL early in the dissolution. The dissolution experiments also demonstrated that additional Hg (beyond the initial 0.002 M) could be added as the Al concentration increases. The ability to add more Hg during a HFIR fuel dissolution could be beneficial if slow dissolution rates are observed at high Al concentrations. Experimental data were used to demonstrate that the predicted H2 concentration in a dissolver was below 60% of the calculated LFL at 200 °C when 0.004 M Hg was used to catalyze the dissolution if the Al concentration is conservatively greater than 0.5 M. Data also show that the Hg concentration during a HFIR fuel dissolution can be increased from 0.002 to 0.008 M at an Al concentration of 1.3 M.},
doi = {10.2172/1327788},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • As part of the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) processing campaign, H-Canyon is planning to begin dissolving High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel in late FY17 or early FY18. Each HFIR fuel core contains inner and outer fuel elements which were fabricated from uranium oxide (U 3O 8) dispersed in a continuous Al phase using traditional powder metallurgy techniques. Fuels fabricated in this manner, like other SNF’s processed in H-Canyon, dissolve by the same general mechanisms with similar gas generation rates and the production of H 2. The HFIR fuel cores will be dissolved and the recovered U will be down-blendedmore » into low-enriched U. HFIR fuel was previously processed in H-Canyon using a unique insert in both the 6.1D and 6.4D dissolvers. Multiple cores will be charged to the same dissolver solution maximizing the concentration of dissolved Al. The objective of this study was to identify flowsheet conditions through literature review and laboratory experimentation to safely and efficiently dissolve the HFIR fuel in H-Canyon. Laboratory-scale experiments were performed to evaluate the dissolution of HFIR fuel using both Al 1100 and Al 6061 T6 alloy coupons. The Al 1100 alloy was considered a representative surrogate which provided an upper bound on the generation of flammable (i.e., H 2) gas during the dissolution process. The dissolution of the Al 6061 T6 alloy proceeded at a slower rate than the Al 1100 alloy and was used to verify that the target Al concentration in solution could be achieved for the selected Hg concentration. Mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy were used to provide continuous monitoring of the concentration of H 2 and other permanent gases in the dissolution offgas allowing the development of H 2 generation rate profiles. The H 2 generation rates were subsequently used to evaluate if a full HFIR core could be dissolved in an H-Canyon dissolver without exceeding 60% of the calculated lower flammability limit (LFL) for H 2 at a given Hg concentration.« less
  • As part of the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) processing campaign, H-Canyon is planning to begin dissolving High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel in late FY17 or early FY18. Each HFIR fuel core contains inner and outer fuel elements which were fabricated from uranium oxide (U 3O 8) dispersed in a continuous Al phase using traditional powder metallurgy techniques. Fuels fabricated in this manner, like other SNF’s processed in H-Canyon, dissolve by the same general mechanisms with similar gas generation rates and the production of H 2. The HFIR fuel cores will be dissolved using a flowsheet developed by the Savannahmore » River National Laboratory (SRNL) in either the 6.4D or 6.1D dissolver using a unique insert. Multiple cores will be charged to the same dissolver solution maximizing the concentration of dissolved Al. The recovered U will be down-blended into low-enriched U for subsequent use as commercial reactor fuel. During the development of the HFIR fuel dissolution flowsheet, the cycle time for the initial core was estimated at 28 to 40 h. Once the cycle is complete, H-Canyon personnel will open the dissolver and probe the HFIR insert wells to determine the height of any fuel fragments which did not dissolve. Before the next core can be charged to the dissolver, an analysis of the potential for H 2 gas generation must show that the combined surface area of the fuel fragments and the subsequent core will not generate H 2 concentrations in the dissolver offgas which exceeds 60% of the lower flammability limit (LFL) of H 2 at 200 °C. The objective of this study is to identify the maximum fuel fragment height as a function of the Al concentration in the dissolving solution which will provide criteria for charging successive HFIR cores to an H-Canyon dissolver.« less
  • The countercurrent flow (CCF) performance in the fuel element region of the HFIR is examined experimentally and theoretically. The fuel element consists of two concentric annuli filled with aluminum clad fuel plates of 1.27 mm thickness separated by 1.27 mm flow channels. The plates are curved as they go radially outward to accomplish constant flow channel width and constant metal-to-coolant ratio. A full-scale HFIR fuel element mock-up is studied in an adiabatic air-water CCF experiment. A review of CCF models for narrow channels is presented along with the treatment of CCFs in system of parallel channels. The experimental results aremore » related to the existing models and a mechanistic model for the annular'' CCF in a narrow channel is developed that captures the data trends well. The results of the experiment are used to calculate the CCFL heat flux of the HFIR fuel assembly. It was determined that the HFIR fuel assembly can reject 0.62 Mw of thermal power in the CCFL situation. 31 refs., 17 figs.« less
  • The Advanced Fuels Campaign within the Fuel Cycle Research and Development program of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy is currently investigating a number of advanced nuclear fuel cladding concepts to improve the accident tolerance of light water reactors. Alumina-forming ferritic alloys (e.g., FeCrAl) are some of the leading candidates to replace traditional zirconium alloys due to their superior oxidation resistance, provided no prohibitive irradiation-induced embrittlement occurs. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed experimental designs to irradiate thin-walled cladding tubes with representative pressurized water reactor geometry in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) under relevant temperatures. These designsmore » allow for post-irradiation examination (PIE) of cladding that closely resembles expected commercially viable geometries and microstructures. The experiments were designed using relatively inexpensive rabbit capsules for the irradiation vehicle. The simplistic designs combined with the extremely high neutron flux in the HFIR allow for rapid testing of a large test matrix, thus reducing the time and cost needed to advanced cladding materials closer to commercialization. The designs are flexible in that they allow for testing FeCrAl alloys, stainless steels, Inconel alloys, and zirconium alloys (as a reference material) both with and without hydrides. This will allow a direct comparison of the irradiation performance of advanced cladding materials with traditional zirconium alloys. PIE will include studies of dimensional change, microstructure variation, mechanical performance, etc. This work describes the capsule design, neutronic and thermal analyses, and flow testing that were performed to support the qualification of this new irradiation vehicle.« less