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Title: Transitional cores and fuel cycle analyses in support of MIT reactor low enriched uranium fuel conversion

Abstract

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) is a research reactor in Cambridge, Massachusetts designed primarily for experiments using neutron beam and in-core irradiation facilities. At 6 MW, it delivers neutron flux and energy spectrum comparable to power light water reactors (LWRs) in a compact core using highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. In the framework of non-proliferation policy, research and test reactors have started a program to convert HEU fuel to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. A new type of LEU fuel based on a high density alloy of uranium and molybdenum (U-10Mo) is expected to allow conversion of U.S. high performance research reactors (USHPRRs) like the MITR. The Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR) for the MITR LEU conversion has been submitted and currently under review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A transition core plan, from 22 fresh LEU fuel elements (i.e., beginning-of-life) gradually to 24 of them arranged in an equilibrium configuration, is expected to serve as an appendix chapter in the final SAR. The current study reported here presents the fuel cycle development, which eventually leads to the transition core plan. The results confirm the equilibrium state, where both the shim bank movement (i.e., core reactivity)more » as well as the content of fissile materials stabilize, can be achieved by fixed-pattern fuel management. Fission density has been evaluated for a number of fully discharged LEU fuel elements, using a best-estimate approach. The fuel cycle calculations also generate power profiles at each core state. A steady-state thermal-hydraulic safety analysis has thus been performed, where onset of nucleate boiling (ONB) is considered as the safety criterion. The results confirm significant margin to ONB at all analyzed transition and equilibrium fuel cycle states.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1606513
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1580309
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357; 2J-30101
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Progress in Nuclear Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0149-1970
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; LEU conversion; MITR; fission density; fuel cycle; transition core

Citation Formats

Sun, Kaichao, Dave, Akshay J., Hu, Lin-wen, Wilson, Erik H., Pham, Son, Jaluvka, David, and Heltemes, Thad. Transitional cores and fuel cycle analyses in support of MIT reactor low enriched uranium fuel conversion. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.pnucene.2019.103171.
Sun, Kaichao, Dave, Akshay J., Hu, Lin-wen, Wilson, Erik H., Pham, Son, Jaluvka, David, & Heltemes, Thad. Transitional cores and fuel cycle analyses in support of MIT reactor low enriched uranium fuel conversion. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnucene.2019.103171
Sun, Kaichao, Dave, Akshay J., Hu, Lin-wen, Wilson, Erik H., Pham, Son, Jaluvka, David, and Heltemes, Thad. 2019. "Transitional cores and fuel cycle analyses in support of MIT reactor low enriched uranium fuel conversion". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnucene.2019.103171. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1606513.
@article{osti_1606513,
title = {Transitional cores and fuel cycle analyses in support of MIT reactor low enriched uranium fuel conversion},
author = {Sun, Kaichao and Dave, Akshay J. and Hu, Lin-wen and Wilson, Erik H. and Pham, Son and Jaluvka, David and Heltemes, Thad},
abstractNote = {The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) is a research reactor in Cambridge, Massachusetts designed primarily for experiments using neutron beam and in-core irradiation facilities. At 6 MW, it delivers neutron flux and energy spectrum comparable to power light water reactors (LWRs) in a compact core using highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. In the framework of non-proliferation policy, research and test reactors have started a program to convert HEU fuel to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. A new type of LEU fuel based on a high density alloy of uranium and molybdenum (U-10Mo) is expected to allow conversion of U.S. high performance research reactors (USHPRRs) like the MITR. The Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR) for the MITR LEU conversion has been submitted and currently under review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A transition core plan, from 22 fresh LEU fuel elements (i.e., beginning-of-life) gradually to 24 of them arranged in an equilibrium configuration, is expected to serve as an appendix chapter in the final SAR. The current study reported here presents the fuel cycle development, which eventually leads to the transition core plan. The results confirm the equilibrium state, where both the shim bank movement (i.e., core reactivity) as well as the content of fissile materials stabilize, can be achieved by fixed-pattern fuel management. Fission density has been evaluated for a number of fully discharged LEU fuel elements, using a best-estimate approach. The fuel cycle calculations also generate power profiles at each core state. A steady-state thermal-hydraulic safety analysis has thus been performed, where onset of nucleate boiling (ONB) is considered as the safety criterion. The results confirm significant margin to ONB at all analyzed transition and equilibrium fuel cycle states.},
doi = {10.1016/j.pnucene.2019.103171},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1606513}, journal = {Progress in Nuclear Energy},
issn = {0149-1970},
number = C,
volume = 119,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:

Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: Top view of the MITR core (left) and horizontal cross-section (right).

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Works referenced in this record:

Thermal-hydraulic analyses of MIT reactor LEU transition cycles
journal, January 2020


Experimental Study of Incipient Nucleate Boiling in Narrow Vertical Rectangular Channel Simulating Subchannel of Upgraded JRR-3
journal, January 1986