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Title: Plutonium and minor actinide utilisation in a pebble-bed high temperature reactor

Abstract

This paper contains results of the analysis of the pebble-bed high temperature gas-cooled PUMA reactor loaded with plutonium and minor actinide (Pu/MA) fuel. Starting from knowledge and experience gained in the Euratom FP5 projects HTR-N and HTR-N1, this study aims at demonstrating the potential of high temperature reactors to utilize or transmute Pu/MA fuel. The work has been performed within the Euratom FP6 project PUMA. A number of different fuel types and fuel configurations have been analyzed and compared with respect to incineration performance and safety-related reactor parameters. The results show the excellent plutonium and minor actinide burning capabilities of the high temperature reactor. The largest degree of incineration is attained in the case of an HTR fuelled by pure plutonium fuel as it remains critical at very deep burnup of the discharged pebbles. Addition of minor actinides to the fuel leads to decrease of the achievable discharge burnup and therefore smaller fraction of actinides incinerated during reactor operation. The inert-matrix fuel design improves the transmutation performance of the reactor, while the 'wallpaper' fuel does not have advantage over the standard fuel design in this respect. After 100 years of decay following the fuel discharge, the total amount of actinidesmore » remains almost unchanged for all of the fuel types considered. Among the plutonium isotopes, only the amount of Pu-241 is reduced significantly due to its relatively short half-life. (authors)« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group, Westerduinweg 3, 1755 ZG Petten (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
American Nuclear Society, Inc., 555 N. Kensington Avenue, La Grange Park, Illinois 60526 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22105702
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: PHYSOR 2012: Conference on Advances in Reactor Physics - Linking Research, Industry, and Education, Knoxville, TN (United States), 15-20 Apr 2012; Other Information: Country of input: France; 12 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; BURNUP; COMBUSTION; CONFIGURATION; DESIGN; EURATOM; HTGR TYPE REACTORS; NEUTRON DETECTORS; NUCLEAR FUELS; PEBBLE BED REACTORS; PLUTONIUM; PLUTONIUM 241; RARE EARTH COMPOUNDS; REACTOR OPERATION; REACTOR SAFETY; TRANSMUTATION

Citation Formats

Petrov, B. Y., Kuijper, J. C., Oppe, J., and De Haas, J. B. M. Plutonium and minor actinide utilisation in a pebble-bed high temperature reactor. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Petrov, B. Y., Kuijper, J. C., Oppe, J., & De Haas, J. B. M. Plutonium and minor actinide utilisation in a pebble-bed high temperature reactor. United States.
Petrov, B. Y., Kuijper, J. C., Oppe, J., and De Haas, J. B. M. Sun . "Plutonium and minor actinide utilisation in a pebble-bed high temperature reactor". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_22105702,
title = {Plutonium and minor actinide utilisation in a pebble-bed high temperature reactor},
author = {Petrov, B. Y. and Kuijper, J. C. and Oppe, J. and De Haas, J. B. M.},
abstractNote = {This paper contains results of the analysis of the pebble-bed high temperature gas-cooled PUMA reactor loaded with plutonium and minor actinide (Pu/MA) fuel. Starting from knowledge and experience gained in the Euratom FP5 projects HTR-N and HTR-N1, this study aims at demonstrating the potential of high temperature reactors to utilize or transmute Pu/MA fuel. The work has been performed within the Euratom FP6 project PUMA. A number of different fuel types and fuel configurations have been analyzed and compared with respect to incineration performance and safety-related reactor parameters. The results show the excellent plutonium and minor actinide burning capabilities of the high temperature reactor. The largest degree of incineration is attained in the case of an HTR fuelled by pure plutonium fuel as it remains critical at very deep burnup of the discharged pebbles. Addition of minor actinides to the fuel leads to decrease of the achievable discharge burnup and therefore smaller fraction of actinides incinerated during reactor operation. The inert-matrix fuel design improves the transmutation performance of the reactor, while the 'wallpaper' fuel does not have advantage over the standard fuel design in this respect. After 100 years of decay following the fuel discharge, the total amount of actinides remains almost unchanged for all of the fuel types considered. Among the plutonium isotopes, only the amount of Pu-241 is reduced significantly due to its relatively short half-life. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2012},
month = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2012}
}

Conference:
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  • 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
  • Efficient electricity and hydrogen production distinguish the Very High Temperature Reactor as the leading Generation IV advanced concept. This graphite-moderated, helium-cooled reactor achieves a requisite high outlet temperature while retaining the passive safety and proliferation resistance required of Generation IV designs. Furthermore, a recirculating pebble-bed VHTR can operate with minimal excess reactivity to yield improved fuel economy and superior resistance to ingress events. Using the PEBBED code developed at the INEEL, conceptual designs of 300 megawatt and 600 megawatt (thermal) Very High Temperature Pebble-Bed Reactors have been developed. The fuel requirements of these compare favorably to the South African PBMR.more » Passive safety is confirmed with the MELCOR accident analysis code.« less
  • This report examines a preliminary design for a pebble bed fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactor (PB-FHR) concept, assessing it from an international safeguards perspective. Safeguards features are defined, in a preliminary fashion, and suggestions are made for addressing further nuclear materials accountancy needs.
  • The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) is a high temperature, helium cooled, graphite moderated pebbled bed reactor, using a multi-pass fuelling scheme. The aim of this paper is to quantify the effects of uncertainties inherent to various reactor and material parameters on the maximum fuel temperature during a De-pressurized Loss of Forced Cooling (DLOFC) event. The data is obtained by using the transient computer code TINTE, which was specifically developed to assess the nuclear and thermal-hydraulic transient behavior of pebble bed high temperature reactor designs. TINTE calculates time-dependent neutron fluxes, heat source distributions and heat transfer rates between solids andmore » gasses in a 2- D r-z geometry to obtain the global transient core temperature behavior. This study is based on the 400 MW PBMR core design status as at April 2003, and includes DLOFC calculations over a wide range of reactor and material parameters. Some of the parameters investigated for their effect on the fuel temperature during the DLOFC are: reactor fission power and decay heat, control rod movements and scram scenarios, coolant mass flow rates and helium coolant and graphite reflector properties (conductivity, emissivity and specific heat capacity). The results of this study indicate that the current estimates for the total DLOFC maximum fuel temperature, for a 400 MW PBMR reactor operating at 105% power, are within an uncertainty band of {+-}107 deg. C for a DLOFC with scram. The three most important parameters influencing the maximum fuel temperatures during a DLOFC are (in sequence of importance): the reactor power level, the amount of decay heat generated by the nuclear fuel after shutdown, and the thermal conductivity of the pebble bed fuel spheres. (author)« less