skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: From CANDLE reactor to pebble-bed reactor

Abstract

This paper attempts to reveal theoretically, by studying a diffusion-burn-up coupled neutronic model, that a so-called CANDLE reactor and a pebble-bed type reactor have a common burn-up feature. As already known, a solitary burn-up wave that can develop in the common U-Pu and Th-U conversion processes is the basic mechanism of the CANDLE reactor. In this paper it is demonstrated that a family of burn-up wave solution exists in the boundary value problem characterizing a pebble bed reactor, in which the fuel is loaded from above into the core and unloaded from bottom. Among this solution family there is a particular case, namely, a partial solitary wave solution, which begins from the fuel entrance side and extends into infinity on the exit side, and has a maximal bum-up rate in this family. An example dealing with the {sup 232}Th-{sup 233}U conversion chain is studied and the solutions are presented in order to show the mechanism of the burn-up wave. (authors)

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Inst. for Nuclear and Energy Technologies, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, P.O.B. 3640, D-76021 Karlsruhe (Germany)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
American Nuclear Society, 555 North Kensington Avenue, La Grange Park, IL 60526 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22039482
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: PHYSOR-2006: American Nuclear Society's Topical Meeting on Reactor Physics - Advances in Nuclear Analysis and Simulation, Vancouver, BC (Canada), 10-14 Sep 2006; Other Information: Country of input: France; 12 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; BOUNDARY-VALUE PROBLEMS; BURNUP; MATHEMATICAL SOLUTIONS; NEUTRON DIFFUSION EQUATION; PEBBLE BED REACTORS; THORIUM 232; URANIUM 233

Citation Formats

Chen, X. N., and Maschek, W.. From CANDLE reactor to pebble-bed reactor. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Chen, X. N., & Maschek, W.. From CANDLE reactor to pebble-bed reactor. United States.
Chen, X. N., and Maschek, W.. 2006. "From CANDLE reactor to pebble-bed reactor". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_22039482,
title = {From CANDLE reactor to pebble-bed reactor},
author = {Chen, X. N. and Maschek, W.},
abstractNote = {This paper attempts to reveal theoretically, by studying a diffusion-burn-up coupled neutronic model, that a so-called CANDLE reactor and a pebble-bed type reactor have a common burn-up feature. As already known, a solitary burn-up wave that can develop in the common U-Pu and Th-U conversion processes is the basic mechanism of the CANDLE reactor. In this paper it is demonstrated that a family of burn-up wave solution exists in the boundary value problem characterizing a pebble bed reactor, in which the fuel is loaded from above into the core and unloaded from bottom. Among this solution family there is a particular case, namely, a partial solitary wave solution, which begins from the fuel entrance side and extends into infinity on the exit side, and has a maximal bum-up rate in this family. An example dealing with the {sup 232}Th-{sup 233}U conversion chain is studied and the solutions are presented in order to show the mechanism of the burn-up wave. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2006,
month = 7
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share:
  • Recirculating pebble-bed reactors are distinguished from all other reactor types by the downward movement through and reinsertion of fuel into the core during operation. Core simulators must account for this movement and mixing in order to capture the physics of the equilibrium cycle core. VSOP and PEBBED are two codes used to perform such simulations, but they do so using different methods. In this study, a simplified pebble-bed core with a specified flux profile and cross sections is used as the model for conducting analyses of two types of burnup schemes. The differences between the codes are described and relatedmore » to the differences observed in the nuclide densities in pebbles discharged from the core. Differences in the methods for computing fission product buildup and average number densities lead to significant differences in the computed core power and eigenvalue. These test models provide a key component of an overall equilibrium cycle benchmark involving neutron transport, cross section generation, and fuel circulation.« less
  • The core of a pebble bed high temperature reactor (PBHTR) moves during operation, a feature which leads to better fuel economy (online refueling with no burnable poisons) and lower fuel stress. The pebbles are loaded at the top and trickle to the bottom of the core after which the burnup of each is measured. The pebbles that are not fully burned are recirculated through the core until the target burnup is achieved. The flow pattern of the pebbles through the core is of importance for core simulations because it couples the burnup distribution to the core temperature and power profiles,more » especially in cores with two or more radial burnup 'zones '. The pebble velocity profile is a strong function of the core geometry and the friction between the pebbles and the surrounding structures (other pebbles or graphite reflector blocks). The friction coefficient for graphite in a helium environment is inversely related to the temperature. The Thorium High Temperature Reactor (THTR) operated in Germany between 1983 and 1989. It featured a two-zone core, an inner core (IC) and outer core (OC), with different fuel mixtures loaded in each zone. The rate at which the IC was refueled relative to the OC in THTR was designed to be 0.56. During its operation, however, this ratio was measured to be 0.76, suggesting the pebbles in the inner core traveled faster than expected. It has been postulated that the positive feedback effect between inner core temperature, burnup, and pebble flow was underestimated in THTR. Because of the power shape, the center of the core in a typical cylindrical PBHTR operates at a higher temperature than the region next to the side reflector. The friction between pebbles in the IC is lower than that in the OC, perhaps causing a higher relative flow rate and lower average burnup, which in turn yield a higher local power density. Furthermore, the pebbles in the center region have higher velocities than the pebbles next to the side reflector due to the interaction between the pebbles and the immobile graphite reflector as well as the geometry of the discharge conus near the bottom of the core. In this paper, the coupling between the temperature profile and the pebble flow dynamics was analyzed by using PEBBED/THERMIX and PEBBLES codes by modeling the HTR-10 reactor in China. Two extreme and opposing velocity profiles are used as a starting point for the iterations. The PEBBED/THERMIX code is used to calculate the burnup, power and temperature profiles with one of the velocity profiles as input. The resulting temperature profile is then passed to PEBBLES code to calculate the updated pebble velocity profile taking the new temperature profile into account. If the aforementioned hypothesis is correct, the strong temperature effect upon the friction coefficients would cause the two cases to converge to different final velocity and temperature profiles. The results of this analysis indicates that a single zone pebble bed core is self-stabilizing in terms of the pebble velocity profile and the effect of the temperature profile on the pebble flow is insignificant. (authors)« less
  • Pebble flow simulation plays an important role in the steady state and transient analysis of thermal-hydraulics and neutronics for Pebble Bed Reactors (PBR). The Discrete Element Method (DEM) and the modified Molecular Dynamics (MD) method are widely used to simulate the pebble motion to obtain the distribution of pebble concentration, velocity, and maximum contact stress. Although DEM and MD present high accuracy in the pebble flow simulation, they are quite computationally expensive due to the large quantity of pebbles to be simulated in a typical PBR and the ubiquitous contacts and collisions between neighboring pebbles that need to be detectedmore » frequently in the simulation, which greatly restricted their applicability for large scale PBR designs such as PBMR400. Since the contact detection accounts for more than 60% of the overall CPU time in the pebble flow simulation, the acceleration of the contact detection can greatly enhance the overall efficiency. In the present work, based on the design features of PBRs, two contact detection algorithms, the basic cell search algorithm and the bounding box search algorithm are investigated and applied to pebble contact detection. The influence from the PBR system size, core geometry and the searching cell size on the contact detection efficiency is presented. Our results suggest that for present PBR applications, the bounding box algorithm is less sensitive to the aforementioned effects and has superior performance in pebble contact detection compared with basic cell search algorithm. (authors)« less
  • The CANDLE burnup strategy is a new reactor burnup concept, where the distributions of fuel nuclide densities, neutron flux, and power density move with the same constant speed along the core axis from bottom to top or from top to bottom of the core and without any change in their shapes. It can be applied easily to the block-type high temperature gas cooled reactor using an appropriate burnable poison mixed with uranium oxide fuel. In the present study, the burnup distribution and the temperature distribution in the core are investigated and their effects on the CANDLE burnup core characteristics aremore » studied. In this study, the natural gadolinium is used as the burnable poison. With the fuel enrichment of 15%, the natural gadolinium concentration of 3.0% and the fuel pin pitch of 6.6 cm, the CANDLE burnup is realized with the burning region moving speed of 29 cm/year and the axial half width of power density distribution of 1.5 m for uniform group constant case at 900 K. When the effect of nuclide change by burnup is considered, the burning region speed becomes 25 cm/year and the axial half-width of power density distribution becomes 1.25 m. When the temperature distributions effect is considered, the effects on the core characteristics are smaller than the burnup distribution effect. The maximum fuel temperature of the parallel flow case is higher than the counter flow case. (authors)« less