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Title: Evaluation of Metal-Fueled Surface Reactor Concepts

Abstract

Surface fission power systems for use on the Moon and Mars may provide the first use of near-term reactor technology in space. Most near-term surface reactor concepts specify reactor temperatures <1000 K to allow the use of established material and power conversion technology and minimize the impact of the in-situ environment. Metal alloy fuels (e.g. U-10Zr and U-10Mo) have not traditionally been considered for space reactors because of high-temperature requirements, but they might be an attractive option for these lower temperature surface power missions. In addition to temperature limitations, metal fuels are also known to swell significantly at rather low fuel burnups ({approx}1 a/o), but near-term surface missions can mitigate this concern as well, because power and lifetime requirements generally keep fuel burnups <1 a/o. If temperature and swelling issues are not a concern, then a surface reactor concept may be able to benefit from the high uranium density and relative ease of manufacture of metal fuels. This paper investigates two reactor concepts that utilize metal fuels. It is found that these concepts compare very well to concepts that utilize other fuels (UN, UO2, UZrH) on a mass basis, while also providing the potential to simplify material safeguards issues.

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [2]
  1. Nuclear Systems Design Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87545 (United States)
  2. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21054536
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 880; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: International forum-STAIF 2007: 11. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 24. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 5. conference on human/robotic technology and the vision for space exploration; 5. symposium on space colonization; 4. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 11-15 Feb 2007; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2437451; (c) 2007 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; BURNUP; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CONVERSION; DENSITY; DESIGN; FISSION; MOON; NUCLEAR FUELS; POWER SYSTEMS; PROPULSION; REACTOR FUELING; REACTOR TECHNOLOGY; REACTORS; SAFEGUARDS; SPACE; SWELLING; URANIUM; URANIUM ALLOYS; URANIUM DIOXIDE; URANIUM NITRIDES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Poston, David I., Marcille, Thomas F., Kapernick, Richard J., Hiatt, Matthew T., Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843, Amiri, Benjamin W., and Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Evaluation of Metal-Fueled Surface Reactor Concepts. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2437451.
Poston, David I., Marcille, Thomas F., Kapernick, Richard J., Hiatt, Matthew T., Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843, Amiri, Benjamin W., & Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Evaluation of Metal-Fueled Surface Reactor Concepts. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2437451.
Poston, David I., Marcille, Thomas F., Kapernick, Richard J., Hiatt, Matthew T., Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843, Amiri, Benjamin W., and Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Tue . "Evaluation of Metal-Fueled Surface Reactor Concepts". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2437451.
@article{osti_21054536,
title = {Evaluation of Metal-Fueled Surface Reactor Concepts},
author = {Poston, David I. and Marcille, Thomas F. and Kapernick, Richard J. and Hiatt, Matthew T. and Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843 and Amiri, Benjamin W. and Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611},
abstractNote = {Surface fission power systems for use on the Moon and Mars may provide the first use of near-term reactor technology in space. Most near-term surface reactor concepts specify reactor temperatures <1000 K to allow the use of established material and power conversion technology and minimize the impact of the in-situ environment. Metal alloy fuels (e.g. U-10Zr and U-10Mo) have not traditionally been considered for space reactors because of high-temperature requirements, but they might be an attractive option for these lower temperature surface power missions. In addition to temperature limitations, metal fuels are also known to swell significantly at rather low fuel burnups ({approx}1 a/o), but near-term surface missions can mitigate this concern as well, because power and lifetime requirements generally keep fuel burnups <1 a/o. If temperature and swelling issues are not a concern, then a surface reactor concept may be able to benefit from the high uranium density and relative ease of manufacture of metal fuels. This paper investigates two reactor concepts that utilize metal fuels. It is found that these concepts compare very well to concepts that utilize other fuels (UN, UO2, UZrH) on a mass basis, while also providing the potential to simplify material safeguards issues.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2437451},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 880,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 30 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Tue Jan 30 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}