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Title: Fuel cycle and neutronic performance of a spectral shift molten salt reactor design

Abstract

Here, the fuel cycle performance and core design of the Transatomic Power liquid-fueled molten salt reactor concept is analyzed. This advanced reactor concept uses configurable zirconium hydride moderator rod assemblies to shift the neutron spectrum in the core from intermediate at beginning of life to thermal at end of life. With a harder spectrum during the early years of reactor operation, this spectral shift design drives captures in fertile 238U. The converted fissile plutonium makes up over 50% of the fissile material in the fuel salt over the last half (~15 years) of reactor operation. A softer spectrum late in reactor life helps drive the fuel to a burnup of 90 GWd/MTU. Continuously changing physics necessitates time-dependent analyses resolved over long timescales (i.e., months to years), as this concept does not meet an equilibrium condition. The spectral shift and molten salt reactor material feeds and removals enable this concept to perform better in fuel cycle metrics, increasing resource utilization by more than 50% compared with a typical light water reactor (i.e., from ~0.6% to ~1%). Finally, these metrics are compared to similar fuel cycles using alternate technologies. Additional core design and analysis challenges associated with the spectral shift and usemore » of molten salt reactor technology are identified and discussed.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Transatomic Power Corporation, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. (née Sunny), Eva E. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1474667
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1582696
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Annals of Nuclear Energy (Oxford)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Annals of Nuclear Energy (Oxford); Journal Volume: 119; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-4549
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
20 FOSSIL-FUELED POWER PLANTS; molten salt reactor; fuel cycle; spectral shift; zirconium hydride

Citation Formats

Betzler, Benjamin R., Robertson, Sean, Davidson, Powers, Jeffrey J., Worrall, Andrew, Dewan, Leslie, and Massie, Mark. Fuel cycle and neutronic performance of a spectral shift molten salt reactor design. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2018.04.043.
Betzler, Benjamin R., Robertson, Sean, Davidson, Powers, Jeffrey J., Worrall, Andrew, Dewan, Leslie, & Massie, Mark. Fuel cycle and neutronic performance of a spectral shift molten salt reactor design. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2018.04.043
Betzler, Benjamin R., Robertson, Sean, Davidson, Powers, Jeffrey J., Worrall, Andrew, Dewan, Leslie, and Massie, Mark. Sat . "Fuel cycle and neutronic performance of a spectral shift molten salt reactor design". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2018.04.043. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1474667.
@article{osti_1474667,
title = {Fuel cycle and neutronic performance of a spectral shift molten salt reactor design},
author = {Betzler, Benjamin R. and Robertson, Sean and Davidson and Powers, Jeffrey J. and Worrall, Andrew and Dewan, Leslie and Massie, Mark},
abstractNote = {Here, the fuel cycle performance and core design of the Transatomic Power liquid-fueled molten salt reactor concept is analyzed. This advanced reactor concept uses configurable zirconium hydride moderator rod assemblies to shift the neutron spectrum in the core from intermediate at beginning of life to thermal at end of life. With a harder spectrum during the early years of reactor operation, this spectral shift design drives captures in fertile 238U. The converted fissile plutonium makes up over 50% of the fissile material in the fuel salt over the last half (~15 years) of reactor operation. A softer spectrum late in reactor life helps drive the fuel to a burnup of 90 GWd/MTU. Continuously changing physics necessitates time-dependent analyses resolved over long timescales (i.e., months to years), as this concept does not meet an equilibrium condition. The spectral shift and molten salt reactor material feeds and removals enable this concept to perform better in fuel cycle metrics, increasing resource utilization by more than 50% compared with a typical light water reactor (i.e., from ~0.6% to ~1%). Finally, these metrics are compared to similar fuel cycles using alternate technologies. Additional core design and analysis challenges associated with the spectral shift and use of molten salt reactor technology are identified and discussed.},
doi = {10.1016/j.anucene.2018.04.043},
journal = {Annals of Nuclear Energy (Oxford)},
number = ,
volume = 119,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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Cited by: 4 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Example of the 2D geometry used in SCALE/NEWT showing the progression of the pitch in the unit cell model as moderator rods are inserted into the core.

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