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Title: A reload and startup plan for conversion of the NIST research reactor

The National Institute of Standards and Technology operates a 20 MW research reactor for neutron-based research. The heavy-water moderated and cooled reactor is fueled with high-enriched uranium (HEU) but a program to convert the reactor to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel is underway. Among other requirements, a reload and startup test plan must be submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for their approval. The NRC provides guidance for what should be in the plan to ensure that the licensee has sufficient information to operate the reactor safely. Hence, a plan has been generated consisting of two parts. The reload portion of the plan specifies the fuel management whereby initially only two LEU fuel elements are in the core for eight fuel cycles. This is repeated until a point when the optimum approach is to place four fresh LEU elements into the reactor each cycle. This final transition is repeated and after eight cycles the reactor is completely fueled with LEU. By only adding two LEU fuel elements initially, the plan allows for the consumption of HEU fuel elements that are expected to be in storage at the time of conversion and provides additional qualification of production LEU fuel undermore » actual operating conditions. Because the reload is to take place over many fuel cycles, startup tests will be done at different stages of the conversion. The tests, to be compared with calculations to show that the reactor will operate as planned, are the measurement of critical shim arm position and shim arm and regulating rod reactivity worths. An acceptance criterion for each test is specified based on technical specifications that relate to safe operation. Additional tests are being considered that have less safety significance but may be of interest to bolster the validation of analysis tools.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1245401
Report Number(s):
BNL--112005-2016-IR
R&D Project: 21798; TRN: US1601186
DOE Contract Number:
SC00112704
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; NBSR REACTOR; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; SLIGHTLY ENRICHED URANIUM; FUEL ELEMENTS; CONVERSION; FUEL MANAGEMENT; REGULATING RODS; FUEL CYCLE; VALIDATION; REACTIVITY WORTHS; PLANNING