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Title: Evaluation of a uranium zirconium hydride fuel rod option for conversion of the MIT research reactor (MITR) from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium

Abstract

The conversion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) from the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel-plate assemblies to low-enriched uranium (LEU) by replacing the HEU fuel plates with specially designed General Atomics (GA) uranium zirconium hydride (UZrH) LEU fuel rods is evaluated in this paper. The margin to critical heat flux (CHF) in the core, which is cooled by light water at low pressure, is evaluated analytically for steady-state operation. A form of the Groeneveld CHF lookup table method is used and described in detail. A CHF ratio of 1.41 was found in the present analysis at 10 MW with engineering hot channel factors included. Therefore, the nominal reactor core power, and neutron flux performance, would need to be reduced by at least 25% in order to meet the regulatory requirement of a minimum CHF ratio of 2.0.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States). Nuclear Reactor Lab.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20), Office of Material Management and Minimization (M3)
Contributing Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1349058
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1366484; OSTI ID: 1415517
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Engineering and Design
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 317; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; MITR; TRIGA; Low-enriched uranium; Reactor conversion; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; Low‐enriched Uranium; Reactor Conversion

Citation Formats

Dunn, F. E., Wilson, E. H., Feldman, E. E., Sun, K., Wang, C., and Hu, L. -W. Evaluation of a uranium zirconium hydride fuel rod option for conversion of the MIT research reactor (MITR) from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2017.02.034.
Dunn, F. E., Wilson, E. H., Feldman, E. E., Sun, K., Wang, C., & Hu, L. -W. Evaluation of a uranium zirconium hydride fuel rod option for conversion of the MIT research reactor (MITR) from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium. United States. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2017.02.034.
Dunn, F. E., Wilson, E. H., Feldman, E. E., Sun, K., Wang, C., and Hu, L. -W. Thu . "Evaluation of a uranium zirconium hydride fuel rod option for conversion of the MIT research reactor (MITR) from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium". United States. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2017.02.034. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1349058.
@article{osti_1349058,
title = {Evaluation of a uranium zirconium hydride fuel rod option for conversion of the MIT research reactor (MITR) from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium},
author = {Dunn, F. E. and Wilson, E. H. and Feldman, E. E. and Sun, K. and Wang, C. and Hu, L. -W.},
abstractNote = {The conversion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) from the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel-plate assemblies to low-enriched uranium (LEU) by replacing the HEU fuel plates with specially designed General Atomics (GA) uranium zirconium hydride (UZrH) LEU fuel rods is evaluated in this paper. The margin to critical heat flux (CHF) in the core, which is cooled by light water at low pressure, is evaluated analytically for steady-state operation. A form of the Groeneveld CHF lookup table method is used and described in detail. A CHF ratio of 1.41 was found in the present analysis at 10 MW with engineering hot channel factors included. Therefore, the nominal reactor core power, and neutron flux performance, would need to be reduced by at least 25% in order to meet the regulatory requirement of a minimum CHF ratio of 2.0.},
doi = {10.1016/j.nucengdes.2017.02.034},
journal = {Nuclear Engineering and Design},
number = ,
volume = 317,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Thu Mar 23 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • The conversion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) from the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel-plate assemblies to low-enriched uranium (LEU) by replacing the HEU fuel plates with specially designed General Atomics (GA) uranium zirconium hydride (UZrH) LEU fuel rods is evaluated. The margin to critical heat flux (CHF) in the core, which is cooled by light water at low pressure, is evaluated analytically for steady-state operation. A form of the Groeneveld CHF lookup table method is used and described in detail. A CHF ratio of 1.41 was found in the present analysis at 10MW with engineering hotmore » channel factors included. Thus, the nominal reactor core power, and neutron flux performance, would need to be reduced by at least 25% in order to meet the regulatory requirement of a minimum CHF ratio of 2.0.« less
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR-II) is a research reactor in Cambridge, Massachusetts designed primarily for experiments using neutron beam and in-core irradiation facilities. It delivers a neutron flux comparable to current LWR power reactors in a compact 6 MW core using Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuel. In the framework of its non-proliferation policies, the international community presently aims to minimize the amount of nuclear material available that could be used for nuclear weapons. In this geopolitical context most research and test reactors, both domestic and international, have started a program of conversion to the use of LEU fuel.more » A new type of LEU fuel based on an alloy of uranium and molybdenum (U-Mo) is expected to allow the conversion of U.S. domestic high performance reactors like MITR. This report presents the preliminary accident analyses for MITR cores fueled with LEU monolithic U-Mo alloy fuel with 10 wt% Mo. Preliminary results demonstrate adequate performance, including thermal margin to expected safety limits, for the LEU accident scenarios analyzed.« less
  • The process for converting the University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Reactor (UMLRR) from high-enrichment uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enrichment uranium (LEU) fuel began in 1988. Several years of design reviews, computational modeling, and thermal hydraulic analyses resulted in a preliminary reference core design and configuration based on 20 standard, MTR-type, flat-plate, 19.75% enriched, uranium silicide (u3Si2) fuel elements. A final safety analysis for the fuel conversion was submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 1993. The NRC made two additional requests for additional information and supplements were submitted in 1994 and 1997. The new UMLRR Reactor Supervisor initiated anmore » effort to change the LEU reference core configuration to eliminate a complicated control rod modification needed for the smaller core.« less
  • The IAEA has been involved for more than twenty years in supporting international nuclear non- proliferation efforts associated with reducing the amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in international commerce. IAEA projects and activities have directly supported the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) programme, as well as directly assisted efforts to convert research reactors from HEU to LEU fuel. HEU to LEU fuel conversion projects differ significantly depending on several factors including the design of the reactor and fuel, technical needs of the member state, local nuclear infrastructure, and available resources. To support such diverse endeavours, themore » IAEA tailors each project to address the relevant constraints. This paper presents the different approaches taken by the IAEA to address the diverse challenges involved in research reactor HEU to LEU fuel conversion projects. Examples of conversion related projects in different Member States are fully detailed. (author)« less