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Title: Assumptions and Criteria for Performing a Feasability Study of the Conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Core to Use Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel

Abstract

A computational study will be initiated during fiscal year 2006 to examine the feasibility of converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor from highly enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium. The study will be limited to steady-state, nominal operation, reactor physics and thermal-hydraulic analyses of a uranium-molybdenum alloy that would be substituted for the current fuel powder--U{sub 3}O{sub 8} mixed with aluminum. The purposes of this document are to (1) define the scope of studies to be conducted, (2) define the methodologies to be used to conduct the studies, (3) define the assumptions that serve as input to the methodologies, (4) provide an efficient means for communication with the Department of Energy and American research reactor operators, and (5) expedite review and commentary by those parties.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. (U. of Cincinnati)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE - Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
890007
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2005/269
TRN: US0604520
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; ALLOYS; ALUMINIUM; COMMUNICATIONS; HFIR REACTOR; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; REACTOR PHYSICS; RESEARCH REACTORS; URANIUM; Low-enriched fuel

Citation Formats

Primm, R.T., III, Ellis, R.J., Gehin, J.C., Moses, D.L., Binder, J.L., and Xoubi, N. Assumptions and Criteria for Performing a Feasability Study of the Conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Core to Use Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/890007.
Primm, R.T., III, Ellis, R.J., Gehin, J.C., Moses, D.L., Binder, J.L., & Xoubi, N. Assumptions and Criteria for Performing a Feasability Study of the Conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Core to Use Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/890007.
Primm, R.T., III, Ellis, R.J., Gehin, J.C., Moses, D.L., Binder, J.L., and Xoubi, N. Wed . "Assumptions and Criteria for Performing a Feasability Study of the Conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Core to Use Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/890007. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/890007.
@article{osti_890007,
title = {Assumptions and Criteria for Performing a Feasability Study of the Conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Core to Use Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel},
author = {Primm, R.T., III and Ellis, R.J. and Gehin, J.C. and Moses, D.L. and Binder, J.L. and Xoubi, N.},
abstractNote = {A computational study will be initiated during fiscal year 2006 to examine the feasibility of converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor from highly enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium. The study will be limited to steady-state, nominal operation, reactor physics and thermal-hydraulic analyses of a uranium-molybdenum alloy that would be substituted for the current fuel powder--U{sub 3}O{sub 8} mixed with aluminum. The purposes of this document are to (1) define the scope of studies to be conducted, (2) define the methodologies to be used to conduct the studies, (3) define the assumptions that serve as input to the methodologies, (4) provide an efficient means for communication with the Department of Energy and American research reactor operators, and (5) expedite review and commentary by those parties.},
doi = {10.2172/890007},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This paper provides a preliminary estimate of the operating power for the High Flux Isotope Reactor when fuelled with low enriched uranium (LEU). Uncertainties in the fuel fabrication and inspection processes are reviewed for the current fuel cycle [highly enriched uranium (HEU)] and the impact of these uncertainties on the proposed LEU fuel cycle operating power is discussed. These studies indicate that for the power distribution presented in a companion paper in these proceedings, the operating power for an LEU cycle would be close to the current operating power. (authors)
  • A computational study has been initiated at ORNL to examine the feasibility of converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) from highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. The current study is limited to steady-state, nominal operation and are focused on the determination of the fuel requirements, primarily density, that are required to maintain the performance of the reactor. Reactor physics analyses are reported for a uranium-molybdenum alloy that would be substituted for the current fuel - U{sub 3}O{sub 8} mixed with aluminum. An LEU core design has been obtained and requires an increase in {sup 235}Umore » loading of a factor of 1.9 over the current HEU fuel. These initial results indicate that the conversion from HEU to LEU results in a reduction of the thermal fluxes in the central flux trap region of approximately 9 % and in the outer beryllium reflector region of approximately 15%. Ongoing work is being performed to improve upon this initial design to further minimize the impact of conversion to LEU fuel. (authors)« less
  • This report describes progress made during FY11 in ORNL activities to support converting the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) from high-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. Conversion from HEU to LEU will require a change in fuel form from uranium oxide to a uranium-molybdenum (UMo) alloy. With both radial and axial contouring of the fuel foil and an increase in reactor power to 100 MW, calculations indicate that the HFIR can be operated with LEU fuel with no degradation in performance to users from the current levels achieved with HEU fuel. Studies are continuing to demonstrate thatmore » the fuel thermal safety margins can be preserved following conversion. Studies are also continuing to update other aspects of the reactor steady state operation and accident response for the effects of fuel conversion. Technical input has been provided to Oregon State University in support of their hydraulic testing program. The HFIR conversion schedule was revised and provided to the GTRI program. In addition to HFIR conversion activities, technical support was provided directly to the Fuel Fabrication Capability program manager.« less
  • The findings presented in this report are results of a five year effort led by the RRD Division of the ORNL, which is focused on research and development toward the conversion of the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel from high-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU). This report focuses on the tasks accomplished by the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) team from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) that provided expert support in multiphysics modeling of complex problems associated with the LEU conversion of the HFIR reactor. The COMSOL software was used as the main computationalmore » modeling tool, whereas Solidworks was also used in support of computer-aided-design (CAD) modeling of the proposed LEU fuel design. The UTK research has been governed by a statement of work (SOW), which was updated annually to clearly define the specific tasks reported herein. Ph.D. student Isaac T. Bodey has focused on heat transfer and fluid flow modeling issues and has been aided by his major professor Dr. Rao V. Arimilli. Ph.D. student Franklin G. Curtis has been focusing on modeling the fluid-structure interaction (FSI) phenomena caused by the mechanical forces acting on the fuel plates, which in turn affect the fluid flow in between the fuel plates, and ultimately the heat transfer, is also affected by the FSI changes. Franklin Curtis has been aided by his major professor Dr. Kivanc Ekici. M.Sc. student Adam R. Travis has focused two major areas of research: (1) on accurate CAD modeling of the proposed LEU plate design, and (2) reduction of the model complexity and dimensionality through interdimensional coupling of the fluid flow and heat transfer for the HFIR plate geometry. Adam Travis is also aided by his major professor, Dr. Kivanc Ekici. We must note that the UTK team, and particularly the graduate students, have been in very close collaboration with Dr. James D. Freels (ORNL technical monitor and mentor) and have benefited greatly from his leadership and expertise in COMSOL modeling of complex physical phenomena. Both UTK and ORNL teams have used COMSOL releases 3.4 through 5.0 inclusive (with particular emphasis on 3.5a, 4.3a, 4.3b, and 4.4) for most of the work described in this report, except where stated otherwise. Just as in the performance of the research, each of the respective sections has been originally authored by respective authors. Therefore, the reader will observe a contrast in writing style throughout this document.« less