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Title: SUB-LEU-METAL-THERM-001 SUBCRITICAL MEASUREMENTS OF LOW ENRICHED TUBULAR URANIUM METAL FUEL ELEMENTS BEFORE & AFTER IRRADIATION

Abstract

With the shutdown of the Hanford PUREX (Plutonium-Uranium Extraction Plant) reprocessing plant in the 1970s, adequate storage capacity for spent Hanford N Reactor fuel elements in the K and N Reactor pools became a concern. To maximize space utilization in the pools, accounting for fuel burnup was considered. Calculations indicated that at typical fuel exposures for N Reactor, the spent-fuel critical mass would be twice the critical mass for green fuel. A decision was reached to test the calculational result with a definitive experiment. If the results proved positive, storage capacity could be increased and N Reactor operation could be prolonged. An experiment to be conducted in the N Reactor spent-fuel storage pool was designed and assembled and the services of the Battelle Northwest Laboratories (BNWL) (now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [PNNL]) critical mass laboratory were procured for the measurements. The experiments were performed in April 1975 in the Hanford N Reactor fuel storage pool. The fuel elements were MKIA fuel assemblies, comprising two concentric tubes of low-enriched metallic uranium. Two separate sets of measurements were performed: one with ''green'' (fresh) fuel and one with spent fuel. Both the green and spent fuel, were measured in the same geometry. Themore » spent-fuel MKIA assemblies had an average burnup of 2865 MWd (megawatt days)/t. A constraint was imposed restricting the measurements to a subcritical limit of k{sub eff} = 0.97. Subcritical count rate data was obtained with pulsed-neutron and approach-to-critical measurements. Ten (10) configurations with green fuel and nine (9) configurations with spent fuel are described and evaluated. Of these, 3 green fuel and 4 spent fuel loading configurations were considered to serve as benchmark models. However, shortcomings in experimental data failed to meet the high standards for a benchmark problem. Nevertheless, the data provided by these subcritical measurements can supply useful information to analysts evaluating spent fuel subcriticality. The original purpose of the subcritical measurements was to validate computer model predictions that spent N Reactor fuel of a particular, typical exposure (2740 MWd/t) had a critical mass equal to twice that of unexposed fuel of the same type. The motivation for performing this work was driven by the need to increase spent fuel storage limits. These subcritical measurements confirmed the computer model predictions.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Hanford Site (HNF), Richland, WA
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE - Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
882316
Report Number(s):
HNF-29648 Rev 0
TRN: US0603282
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC06-96RL13200
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CRITICALITY SAFETY BENCHMARK EVALUATION WORKING GROUP MEETING SPONSORED BY NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (NNSA) MAY 15-19, 2006 IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; BENCHMARKS; CRITICAL MASS; CRITICALITY; EVALUATION; FUEL ASSEMBLIES; FUEL ELEMENTS; FUEL STORAGE POOLS; IRRADIATION; N-REACTOR; SAFETY; SECURITY; SPENT FUEL STORAGE; SPENT FUELS; URANIUM

Citation Formats

SCHWINKENDORF, K.N.. SUB-LEU-METAL-THERM-001 SUBCRITICAL MEASUREMENTS OF LOW ENRICHED TUBULAR URANIUM METAL FUEL ELEMENTS BEFORE & AFTER IRRADIATION. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
SCHWINKENDORF, K.N.. SUB-LEU-METAL-THERM-001 SUBCRITICAL MEASUREMENTS OF LOW ENRICHED TUBULAR URANIUM METAL FUEL ELEMENTS BEFORE & AFTER IRRADIATION. United States.
SCHWINKENDORF, K.N.. Fri . "SUB-LEU-METAL-THERM-001 SUBCRITICAL MEASUREMENTS OF LOW ENRICHED TUBULAR URANIUM METAL FUEL ELEMENTS BEFORE & AFTER IRRADIATION". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/882316.
@article{osti_882316,
title = {SUB-LEU-METAL-THERM-001 SUBCRITICAL MEASUREMENTS OF LOW ENRICHED TUBULAR URANIUM METAL FUEL ELEMENTS BEFORE & AFTER IRRADIATION},
author = {SCHWINKENDORF, K.N.},
abstractNote = {With the shutdown of the Hanford PUREX (Plutonium-Uranium Extraction Plant) reprocessing plant in the 1970s, adequate storage capacity for spent Hanford N Reactor fuel elements in the K and N Reactor pools became a concern. To maximize space utilization in the pools, accounting for fuel burnup was considered. Calculations indicated that at typical fuel exposures for N Reactor, the spent-fuel critical mass would be twice the critical mass for green fuel. A decision was reached to test the calculational result with a definitive experiment. If the results proved positive, storage capacity could be increased and N Reactor operation could be prolonged. An experiment to be conducted in the N Reactor spent-fuel storage pool was designed and assembled and the services of the Battelle Northwest Laboratories (BNWL) (now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [PNNL]) critical mass laboratory were procured for the measurements. The experiments were performed in April 1975 in the Hanford N Reactor fuel storage pool. The fuel elements were MKIA fuel assemblies, comprising two concentric tubes of low-enriched metallic uranium. Two separate sets of measurements were performed: one with ''green'' (fresh) fuel and one with spent fuel. Both the green and spent fuel, were measured in the same geometry. The spent-fuel MKIA assemblies had an average burnup of 2865 MWd (megawatt days)/t. A constraint was imposed restricting the measurements to a subcritical limit of k{sub eff} = 0.97. Subcritical count rate data was obtained with pulsed-neutron and approach-to-critical measurements. Ten (10) configurations with green fuel and nine (9) configurations with spent fuel are described and evaluated. Of these, 3 green fuel and 4 spent fuel loading configurations were considered to serve as benchmark models. However, shortcomings in experimental data failed to meet the high standards for a benchmark problem. Nevertheless, the data provided by these subcritical measurements can supply useful information to analysts evaluating spent fuel subcriticality. The original purpose of the subcritical measurements was to validate computer model predictions that spent N Reactor fuel of a particular, typical exposure (2740 MWd/t) had a critical mass equal to twice that of unexposed fuel of the same type. The motivation for performing this work was driven by the need to increase spent fuel storage limits. These subcritical measurements confirmed the computer model predictions.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri May 12 00:00:00 EDT 2006},
month = {Fri May 12 00:00:00 EDT 2006}
}

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  • With the shutdown of the Hanford PUREX (Plutonium-Uranium Extraction Plant) reprocessing plant in the 1970s, adequate storage capacity for spent Hanford N Reactor fuel elements in the K and N Reactor pools became a concern. To maximize space utilization in the pools, accounting for fuel burnup was considered. Fuel that had experienced a neutron environment in a reactor is known as spent, exposed, or irradiated fuel. In contrast fuel that has not yet been placed in a reactor is known as green, unexposed, or unirradiated fuel. Calculations indicated that at typical fuel exposures for N Reactor, the spent-fuel critical massmore » would be twice the critical mass for green fuel. A decision was reached to test the calculational result with a definitive experiment. If the results proved positive, storage capacity could be increased and N Reactor operation could be prolonged. An experiment to be conducted in the N Reactor spent-fuel storage pool was designed and assembled (References 1 and 2) and the services of the Battelle Northwest Laboratories (BNWL) (now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [PNNL]) critical mass laboratory were procured for the measurements (Reference 3). The experiments were performed in April 1975 in the Hanford N Reactor fuel storage pool. The fuel elements were MKIA fuel assemblies, comprised of two concentric tubes of low-enriched metallic uranium. Two separate sets of measurements were performed: one with unirradiated fuel and one with irradiated fuel. Both the unirradiated and irradiated fuel, were measured in the same geometry. The spent-fuel MKIA assemblies had an average burnup of 2865 MWd (megawatt days)/t. A constraint was imposed restricting the measurements to a subcritical limit of k{sub eff} = 0.97. Subcritical count rate data was obtained with pulsed-neutron and approach-to-critical measurements. Ten (10) configurations with green fuel and nine (9) configurations with spent fuel are described and evaluated. Of these, three (3) green fuel and four (4) spent fuel loading configurations were considered to serve as benchmark models. However, shortcomings in experimental data, such as the uncertainty in fuel exposure impact on reactivity and the pulse neutron data evaluation methodology, failed to meet the high standards for a benchmark problem. Nevertheless, the data provided by these subcritical measurements supply useful information to analysts evaluating spent fuel subcriticality. The original purpose of the subcritical measurements was to validate computer model predictions that spent N Reactor fuel of a particular, typical exposure (2740 MWd/t) had a critical mass equal to twice that of unexposed fuel of the same type. The motivation for performing this work was driven by the need to increase spent fuel storage limits. These subcritical measurements confirmed the computer model predictions.« less
  • The LEU uranium-zirconium hydride fuel has successfully completed all essential development testing and is offered commercially in both the 20 weight percent and 45 weight percent uranium concentrations for existing TRIGA reactors and as a conversion fuel for plate-type reactors. Several reactor facilities have already begun conversion to LEU uranium-zirconium hydride fuel. Currently, U-ZrH LEU fuel is in use in a mixed plate and rod fuel configuration in the 1.0 MW reactor at the National Tsing Hua University in Taipei, Taiwan. A complete core of 20 wt-$ LEU fuel has been fabricated for the 3 MW forced flow TRIGA Markmore » II reactor system with pulsing capability scheduled to be completed in 1984 in Bangladesh. Also, a complete core of 20 vt-% 4-rod shrouded cluster fuel has been fabricated and shipped for conversion and upgrading of the PRR-1 reactor in the Philippines. The converted reactor will operate at 3 MW with forced cooling and have pulsing capability. Startup is now scheduled for early 1985. U-ZrH LEU fuel has also been delivered to existing TRIGA reactor facilities in Malaysia, Thailand and Yugoslavia and is being put to use as new fuel is needed to meet burnup requirements. For stepwise conversions of higher power reactors (>5 MW), where flow distribution and neutron spectrum effects are of greater importance, a detailed analysis and study is a prerequisite. A joint program involving GA, ANL, and the Cekmece Center is now in progress for analysis of a single U-ZrH LEU fuel test cluster operating in the 5 MW HEU plate-type core of the TR-2 reactor at the Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center in Istanbul, Turkey. Inserting this one cluster would be the initial step in a stepwise conversion of the HEU plate-type core to U-ZrH LEU fuel.« less
  • The status of the testing and evaluation of full-sized experimental low- and medium-enriched uranium fuel elements in the Oak Ridge Research Reactor is presented. Medium-enriched elements containing oxide and aluminide have been completely evaluated at burnups up to 75%. A low-enriched U/sub 3/Si/sub 2/ element has been evaluated at 41% burnup. Other silicide and oxide elements have completed irradiation satisfactorily to burnups of 75% and are now being evaluated. All results to date confirm the expected good performance of these elements in the medium power research reactor environment.
  • Design specifications and performance data are presented for N-reactor fuel elements. (DG)