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Title: Impact of the High Flux Isotope Reactor HEU to LEU Fuel Conversion on Cold Source Nuclear Heat Generation Rates

Under the sponsorship of the US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration, staff members at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been conducting studies to determine whether the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) can be converted from high enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. As part of these ongoing studies, an assessment of the impact that the HEU to LEU fuel conversion has on the nuclear heat generation rates in regions of the HFIR cold source system and its moderator vessel was performed and is documented in this report. Silicon production rates in the cold source aluminum regions and few-group neutron fluxes in the cold source moderator were also estimated. Neutronics calculations were performed with the Monte Carlo N-Particle code to determine the nuclear heat generation rates in regions of the HFIR cold source and its vessel for the HEU core operating at a full reactor power (FP) of 85 MW(t) and the reference LEU core operating at an FP of 100 MW(t). Calculations were performed with beginning-of-cycle (BOC) and end-of-cycle (EOC) conditions to bound typical irradiation conditions. Average specific BOC heat generation rates of 12.76 and 12.92 W/g, respectively, were calculated for the hemisphericalmore » region of the cold source liquid hydrogen (LH2) for the HEU and LEU cores, and EOC heat generation rates of 13.25 and 12.86 W/g, respectively, were calculated for the HEU and LEU cores. Thus, the greatest heat generation rates were calculated for the EOC HEU core, and it is concluded that the conversion from HEU to LEU fuel and the resulting increase of FP from 85 MW to 100 MW will not impact the ability of the heat removal equipment to remove the heat deposited in the cold source system. Silicon production rates in the cold source aluminum regions are estimated to be about 12.0% greater at BOC and 2.7% greater at EOC for the LEU core in comparison to the HEU core. Silicon is aluminum s major transmutation product and affects mechanical properties of aluminum including density, neutron irradiation hardening, swelling, and loss of ductility. Because slightly greater quantities of silicon will be produced in the cold source moderator vessel for the LEU core, these effects will be slightly greater for the LEU core than for the HEU core. Three-group (thermal, epithermal, and fast) neutron flux results tallied in the cold source LH2 hemisphere show greater values for the LEU core under both BOC and EOC conditions. The thermal neutron flux in the LH2 hemisphere for the LEU core is about 12.4% greater at BOC and 2.7% greater at EOC than for the HEU core. Therefore, cold neutron scattering will not be adversely affected and the 4 12 neutrons conveyed to the cold neutron guide hall for research applications will be enhanced.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1126550
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2014/12
NN9002000; MDGA518
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR)
Sponsoring Org:
NNSA USDOE - National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
HFIR; LEU; Conversion; Cold Source; MCNP; Heat Generation Rate