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Title: Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety Systems

Abstract

This report summarizes the work and results of NEUP Project #15-8251, \Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety System," performed from 2015-2018 at UC Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratory. This project concerns the incorporation of a novel engineered passive safety system, called the Autonomous Reactivity Control (ARC) system, into Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFRs) to improve their transient and economic performance. The first part of this project consisted of fleshing out the basic principles and the manufacturing process for an SFR fuel assembly with the ARC system installed, with the details provided in high-quality, step-by-step CAD drawings. Once the detailed design is laid out, high-fidelity simulations were performed to optimize the dimensions of important ARC system components and to quantify the standalone time-response of ARC systems in a typical SFR environment. These high-fidelity simulations were used to create reduced-order models of ARC system response which could be incorporated into the SAS4A/SASSYS-1 whole-core transient models. In order to accurately account for the time-response of ARC systems in whole-core transient simulations, modifications were made to the SAS4A/SASSYS-1 transient code. These new capabilities were tested and incorporated into the production version of the code, and have been used extensively in this analysis. Beforemore » performing whole-core transient calculations, the two reference cores selected for this study to cover a wide design space were simulated and characterized. The two reference cores, (1) a medium-sized oxide-fueled Advanced Burner Reactor and (2) a large metal-fueled Breed-and-Burn core, challenge conventional means of achieving passive safety. Because the two cores vary substantially, simulating the ARC system in both allows for conclusions to be drawn about the applicability of ARC systems in different SFRs. Once both cores were fully characterized, transient calculations were performed to understand the complicated interplay between the ARC system and other inherent reactivity feedback mechanisms. By performing parametric studies of the transient behavior, ARC system designs that best improve transient performance in each core were identified. Once transient improvements were established, the transient calculations were extended to improve reactor economics through design modifications. Upon establishing the potential benefits of ARC system inclusion, the study examines the negative neutronic implications of incorporating ARC systems into the reference cores. The study concludes by discussing a number of knowledge gaps that exist which may have important implications for ARC system implementation. Ultimately, the results of this project indicate that ARC systems may provide an effective means to improve transient performance in certain types of systems. The transient simulations in the oxide Advanced Burner Reactor showed that significant margin to coolant boiling and fuel melting could be gained through the use of a properly designed ARC system, thus improving inherent safety. While oscillatory behavior was induced in the transient response for certain combinations of ARC system parameters, the oscillation-free design space that can be effectively used to improve performance was found to be large, and the additional margin was demonstrated to allow economical improvements to the core design. Conversely, difficulties were encountered in the Breed-and-Burn core due to fundamental aspects of the core design. The combination of a particularly strong positive coolant void feedback and the use of metallic fuel allowed for diverging oscillations to manifest in response to certain transient initiators, and in the end it was found that the current ARC system design could not simultaneously enable passive safety in all transients examined. In order for complete passive safety to be achieved, a mechanism for slowing the reverse actuation of ARC systems is necessary. Regardless, the standard ARC system was able to improve the performance of two out of the three examined transients by increasing the margin to boiling in Loss of Heat Sink transients and avoiding boiling in Transient Overpower accidents. Additionally, no significant barriers to implementation were found, although the issue of tritium production should be closely monitored in any core incorporating ARC systems. Still, a number of technology gaps exist, and these are discussed at the conclusion of the report to recommend directions for future work.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1493713
Report Number(s):
15-8251
15-8251
DOE Contract Number:  
NE0008455
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Greenspan, Ehud. Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety Systems. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1493713.
Greenspan, Ehud. Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety Systems. United States. doi:10.2172/1493713.
Greenspan, Ehud. Sun . "Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety Systems". United States. doi:10.2172/1493713. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1493713.
@article{osti_1493713,
title = {Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety Systems},
author = {Greenspan, Ehud},
abstractNote = {This report summarizes the work and results of NEUP Project #15-8251, \Enhanced Performance Fast Reactors with Engineered Passive Safety System," performed from 2015-2018 at UC Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratory. This project concerns the incorporation of a novel engineered passive safety system, called the Autonomous Reactivity Control (ARC) system, into Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFRs) to improve their transient and economic performance. The first part of this project consisted of fleshing out the basic principles and the manufacturing process for an SFR fuel assembly with the ARC system installed, with the details provided in high-quality, step-by-step CAD drawings. Once the detailed design is laid out, high-fidelity simulations were performed to optimize the dimensions of important ARC system components and to quantify the standalone time-response of ARC systems in a typical SFR environment. These high-fidelity simulations were used to create reduced-order models of ARC system response which could be incorporated into the SAS4A/SASSYS-1 whole-core transient models. In order to accurately account for the time-response of ARC systems in whole-core transient simulations, modifications were made to the SAS4A/SASSYS-1 transient code. These new capabilities were tested and incorporated into the production version of the code, and have been used extensively in this analysis. Before performing whole-core transient calculations, the two reference cores selected for this study to cover a wide design space were simulated and characterized. The two reference cores, (1) a medium-sized oxide-fueled Advanced Burner Reactor and (2) a large metal-fueled Breed-and-Burn core, challenge conventional means of achieving passive safety. Because the two cores vary substantially, simulating the ARC system in both allows for conclusions to be drawn about the applicability of ARC systems in different SFRs. Once both cores were fully characterized, transient calculations were performed to understand the complicated interplay between the ARC system and other inherent reactivity feedback mechanisms. By performing parametric studies of the transient behavior, ARC system designs that best improve transient performance in each core were identified. Once transient improvements were established, the transient calculations were extended to improve reactor economics through design modifications. Upon establishing the potential benefits of ARC system inclusion, the study examines the negative neutronic implications of incorporating ARC systems into the reference cores. The study concludes by discussing a number of knowledge gaps that exist which may have important implications for ARC system implementation. Ultimately, the results of this project indicate that ARC systems may provide an effective means to improve transient performance in certain types of systems. The transient simulations in the oxide Advanced Burner Reactor showed that significant margin to coolant boiling and fuel melting could be gained through the use of a properly designed ARC system, thus improving inherent safety. While oscillatory behavior was induced in the transient response for certain combinations of ARC system parameters, the oscillation-free design space that can be effectively used to improve performance was found to be large, and the additional margin was demonstrated to allow economical improvements to the core design. Conversely, difficulties were encountered in the Breed-and-Burn core due to fundamental aspects of the core design. The combination of a particularly strong positive coolant void feedback and the use of metallic fuel allowed for diverging oscillations to manifest in response to certain transient initiators, and in the end it was found that the current ARC system design could not simultaneously enable passive safety in all transients examined. In order for complete passive safety to be achieved, a mechanism for slowing the reverse actuation of ARC systems is necessary. Regardless, the standard ARC system was able to improve the performance of two out of the three examined transients by increasing the margin to boiling in Loss of Heat Sink transients and avoiding boiling in Transient Overpower accidents. Additionally, no significant barriers to implementation were found, although the issue of tritium production should be closely monitored in any core incorporating ARC systems. Still, a number of technology gaps exist, and these are discussed at the conclusion of the report to recommend directions for future work.},
doi = {10.2172/1493713},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {1}
}