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Title: TREAT Neutronics Analysis and Design Support, Part I: Multi-SERTTA

Abstract

Experiment vehicle design is necessary in preparation for Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility restart and the resumption of transient testing to support Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) characterization and other future fuels testing requirements. Currently the most mature vehicle design is the Multi-SERTTA (Static Environments Rodlet Transient Test Apparatuses), which can accommodate up to four concurrent rodlet-sized specimens under separate environmental conditions. Robust test vehicle design requires neutronics analyses to support design development, optimization of the power coupling factor (PCF) to efficiently maximize energy generation in the test fuel rodlets, and experiment safety analyses. Calculations were performed to support analysis of a near-final design of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle, the design process for future TREAT test vehicles, and establish analytical practices for upcoming transient test experiments. Models of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle containing typical PWR-fuel rodlets were prepared and neutronics calculations were performed using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries. Calculation of the PCF for reference conditions of a PWR fuel rodlet in clean water at operational temperature and pressure provided results between 1.10 and 1.74 W/g-MW depending on the location of the four Multi-SERTTA units with the stack. Basic changes to the Multi-SERTTA secondary vessel containment and support have minimal impact onmore » PCF; using materials with less neutron absorption can improve expected PCF values, especially in the primary containment. An optimized balance is needed between structural integrity, experiment safety, and energy deposition in the experiment. Type of medium and environmental conditions within the primary vessel surrounding the fuel rodlet can also have a significant impact on resultant PCF values. The estimated reactivity insertion worth into the TREAT core is impacted more by the primary and secondary Multi-SERTTA vehicle structure with the experiment content and contained environment having a near negligible impact on overall system reactivity. Additional calculations were performed to evaluate the peak-to-average assembly powers throughout the TREAT core, as well as the nuclear heat generation for the various structural components of the Multi-SERTTA assembly. Future efforts include the evaluation of flux collars to shape the PCF for individual Multi-SERTTA units during an experiment such as to achieve uniformity in test unit environmental conditions impacted by the non-uniform axial flux/power profile of TREAT. Upon resumption of transient testing, experimental results from both the Multi-SERTTA and Multi-SERTTA-CAL will be compared against calculational results and methods for further optimization and design strategies.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1367687
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-16-37589
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Top Fuel 2016, Boise, ID, USA, September 11–15, 2016
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; Irradiation; Multi-SERTTA; Neutronics; Transient Testing; TREAT

Citation Formats

Bess, John D., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Hill, Connie M., Jensen, Colby B., and Snow, Spencer D. TREAT Neutronics Analysis and Design Support, Part I: Multi-SERTTA. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Bess, John D., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Hill, Connie M., Jensen, Colby B., & Snow, Spencer D. TREAT Neutronics Analysis and Design Support, Part I: Multi-SERTTA. United States.
Bess, John D., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Hill, Connie M., Jensen, Colby B., and Snow, Spencer D. 2016. "TREAT Neutronics Analysis and Design Support, Part I: Multi-SERTTA". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1367687.
@article{osti_1367687,
title = {TREAT Neutronics Analysis and Design Support, Part I: Multi-SERTTA},
author = {Bess, John D. and Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E. and Hill, Connie M. and Jensen, Colby B. and Snow, Spencer D.},
abstractNote = {Experiment vehicle design is necessary in preparation for Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility restart and the resumption of transient testing to support Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) characterization and other future fuels testing requirements. Currently the most mature vehicle design is the Multi-SERTTA (Static Environments Rodlet Transient Test Apparatuses), which can accommodate up to four concurrent rodlet-sized specimens under separate environmental conditions. Robust test vehicle design requires neutronics analyses to support design development, optimization of the power coupling factor (PCF) to efficiently maximize energy generation in the test fuel rodlets, and experiment safety analyses. Calculations were performed to support analysis of a near-final design of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle, the design process for future TREAT test vehicles, and establish analytical practices for upcoming transient test experiments. Models of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle containing typical PWR-fuel rodlets were prepared and neutronics calculations were performed using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries. Calculation of the PCF for reference conditions of a PWR fuel rodlet in clean water at operational temperature and pressure provided results between 1.10 and 1.74 W/g-MW depending on the location of the four Multi-SERTTA units with the stack. Basic changes to the Multi-SERTTA secondary vessel containment and support have minimal impact on PCF; using materials with less neutron absorption can improve expected PCF values, especially in the primary containment. An optimized balance is needed between structural integrity, experiment safety, and energy deposition in the experiment. Type of medium and environmental conditions within the primary vessel surrounding the fuel rodlet can also have a significant impact on resultant PCF values. The estimated reactivity insertion worth into the TREAT core is impacted more by the primary and secondary Multi-SERTTA vehicle structure with the experiment content and contained environment having a near negligible impact on overall system reactivity. Additional calculations were performed to evaluate the peak-to-average assembly powers throughout the TREAT core, as well as the nuclear heat generation for the various structural components of the Multi-SERTTA assembly. Future efforts include the evaluation of flux collars to shape the PCF for individual Multi-SERTTA units during an experiment such as to achieve uniformity in test unit environmental conditions impacted by the non-uniform axial flux/power profile of TREAT. Upon resumption of transient testing, experimental results from both the Multi-SERTTA and Multi-SERTTA-CAL will be compared against calculational results and methods for further optimization and design strategies.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 8
}

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  • Experiment vehicle design is necessary in preparation for Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility restart and the resumption of transient testing to support Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) characterization and other future fuels testing requirements. Currently the most mature vehicle design is the Multi-SERTTA (Static Environments Rodlet Transient Test Apparatuses), which can accommodate up to four concurrent rodlet-sized specimens under separate environmental conditions. Robust test vehicle design requires neutronics analyses to support design development, optimization of the power coupling factor (PCF) to efficiently maximize energy generation in the test fuel rodlets, and experiment safety analyses. In integral aspect of prior TREAT transientmore » testing was the incorporation of calibration experiments to experimentally evaluate and validate test conditions in preparation of the actual fuel testing. The calibration experiment package established the test parameter conditions to support fine-tuning of the computational models to deliver the required energy deposition to the fuel samples. The calibration vehicle was designed to be as near neutronically equivalent to the experiment vehicle as possible to minimize errors between the calibration and final tests. The Multi-SERTTA-CAL vehicle was designed to serve as the calibration vehicle supporting Multi-SERTTA experimentation. Models of the Multi-SERTTA-CAL vehicle containing typical PWR-fuel rodlets were prepared and neutronics calculations were performed using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries; these results were then compared against those performed for Multi-SERTTA to determine the similarity and possible design modification necessary prior to construction of these experiment vehicles. The estimated reactivity insertion worth into the TREAT core is very similar between the two vehicle designs, with the primary physical difference being a hollow Inconel tube running down the length of the calibration vehicle. Calculations of PCF indicate that on average there is a reduction of approximately 6.3 and 12.6%, respectively, for PWR fuel rodlets irradiated under wet and dry conditions. Changes to the primary or secondary vessel structure in the calibration vehicle can be performed to offset this discrepancy and maintain neutronic equivalency. Current possible modifications to the calibration vehicle include reduction of the primary vessel wall thickness, swapping Zircaloy-4 for stainless steel 316 in the secondary containment, or slight modification to the temperature and pressure of the water environment within the primary vessel. Removal of some of the instrumentation within the calibration vehicle can also serve to slightly increase the PCF. Future efforts include further modification and optimization of the Multi-SERTTA and Multi-SERTTA-CAL designs in preparation of actual TREAT transient testing. Experimental results from both test vehicles will be compared against calculational results and methods to provide validation and support additional neutronics analyses.« less
  • Experimental testing in the Multi-Static Environment Rodlet Transient Test Apparatus (SERTTA) will lead the rebirth of transient fuel testing in the United States as part of the Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF) progam. The Multi-SERTTA is comprised of four isolated pressurized environments capable of a wide variety of working fluids and thermal conditions. Ultimately, the TREAT reactor as well as the Multi-SERTTA test vehicle serve the purpose of providing desired thermal-hydraulic boundary conditions to the test specimen. The initial ATF testing in TREAT will focus on reactivity insertion accident (RIA) events using both gas and water environments including typical PWR operatingmore » pressures and temperatures. For the water test environment, a test configuration is envisioned using the expansion tank as part of the gas-filled expansion volume seen by the test to provide additional pressure relief. The heat transfer conditions during the high energy power pulses of RIA events remains a subject of large uncertainty and great importance for fuel performance predictions. To support transient experiments, the Multi-SERTTA vehicle has been modeled using RELAP5 with a baseline test specimen composed of UO2 fuel in zircaloy cladding. The modeling results show the influence of the designs of the specimen, vehicle, and transient power pulses. The primary purpose of this work is to provide input and boundary conditions to fuel performance code BISON. Therefore, studies of parameters having influence on specimen performance during RIA transients are presented including cladding oxidation, power pulse magnitude and width, cladding-to-coolant heat fluxes, fuel-to-cladding gap, transient boiling effects (modified CHF values), etc. The results show the great flexibility and capacity of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA test vehicle to provide testing under a wide range of prototypic thermal-hydraulic conditions as never done before.« less
  • Abstract. Simulation of a variety of transient conditions has been successfully achieved in the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility during operation between 1959 and 1994 to support characterization and safety analysis of nuclear fuels and materials. A majority of previously conducted tests were focused on supporting sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) designs. Experiments evolved in complexity. Simulation of thermal-hydraulic conditions expected to be encountered by fuels and materials in a reactor environment was realized in the development of TREAT sodium loop experiment vehicles. These loops accommodated up to 7-pin fuel bundles and served to simulate more closely the reactor environment whilemore » safely delivering large quantities of energy into the test specimen. Some of the immediate TREAT restart operations will be focused on testing light water reactor (LWR) accident tolerant fuels (ATF). Similar to the sodium loop objectives, a water loop concept, developed and analyzed in the 1990’s, aimed at achieving thermal-hydraulic conditions encountered in commercial power reactors. The historic water loop concept has been analyzed in the context of a reactivity insertion accident (RIA) simulation for high burnup LWR 2-pin and 3-pin fuel bundles. Findings showed sufficient energy could be deposited into the specimens for evaluation. Similar results of experimental feasibility for the water loop concept (past and present) have recently been obtained using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries. The old water loop concept required only two central TREAT core grid spaces. Preparation for future experiments has resulted in a modified water loop conceptual design designated the TREAT water environment recirculating loop (TWERL). The current TWERL design requires nine TREAT core grid spaces in order to place the water recirculating pump under the TREAT core. Due to the effectiveness of water moderation, neutronics analysis shows that removal of seven additional TREAT fuel elements to facilitate the experiment will not inhibit the ability to successfully simulate a RIA for the 2-pin or 3-pin bundle. This new water loop design leaves room for accommodating a larger fuel pin bundle than previously analyzed. The 7-pin fuel bundle in a hexagonal array with similar spacing of fuel pins in a SFR fuel assembly was considered the minimum needed for one central fuel pin to encounter the most correct thermal conditions. The 9-rod fuel bundle in a square array similar in spacing to pins in a LWR fuel assembly would be considered the LWR equivalent. MCNP analysis conducted on a preliminary LWR 9-rod bundle design shows that sufficient energy deposition into the central pin can be achieved well within range to investigate fuel and cladding performance in a simulated RIA. This is achieved by surrounding the flow channel with an additional annulus of water. Findings also show that a highly significant increase in TREAT to specimen power coupling factor (PCF) within the central pin can be achieved by surrounding the experiment with one to two rings of TREAT upgrade fuel assemblies. The experiment design holds promise for the performance evaluation of PWR fuel at extremely high burnup under similar reactor environment conditions.« less
  • Phase IIC of the experimental program is to begin in fall of 1988. An extensive pre-analysis has been carried out to select the experimental configurations. The investigations were confined to looking at the effect of (i) multi-layer arrangement of Be multiplier, (ii) the presence of contiguous layers of structure and coolant, (iii) the introduction of protective graphite armor in front of the first wall, on tritium production rate (TPR) in Li/sub 2/O assembly. The basic materials and geometrical structure of the assembly, are derived from that of the Phase IIA. The structure is simulated by stainless steel (SS) and themore » coolant is either polyethylene (PE) or water. Generally, the heterogeneities strongly distort the local T/sub 6/ and T/sub 7/ distributions; their effect on global TPR is less marked. One of the two selected configurations has Be, in edge-on layered arrangement with Li/sub 2/O, as multiplier. In the second configuration, three coolant channels (SS + PE) are incorporated to simulate structural heterogeneity.« less