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Title: Toward a Mechanistic Source Term in Advanced Reactors: Characterization of Radionuclide Transport and Retention in a Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor

A vital component of the U.S. reactor licensing process is an integrated safety analysis in which a source term representing the release of radionuclides during normal operation and accident sequences is analyzed. Historically, source term analyses have utilized bounding, deterministic assumptions regarding radionuclide release. However, advancements in technical capabilities and the knowledge state have enabled the development of more realistic and best-estimate retention and release models such that a mechanistic source term assessment can be expected to be a required component of future licensing of advanced reactors. Recently, as part of a Regulatory Technology Development Plan effort for sodium cooled fast reactors (SFRs), Argonne National Laboratory has investigated the current state of knowledge of potential source terms in an SFR via an extensive review of previous domestic experiments, accidents, and operation. As part of this work, the significant sources and transport processes of radionuclides in an SFR have been identified and characterized. This effort examines all stages of release and source term evolution, beginning with release from the fuel pin and ending with retention in containment. Radionuclide sources considered in this effort include releases originating both in-vessel (e.g. in-core fuel, primary sodium, cover gas cleanup system, etc.) and ex-vessel (e.g.more » spent fuel storage, handling, and movement). Releases resulting from a primary sodium fire are also considered as a potential source. For each release group, dominant transport phenomena are identified and qualitatively discussed. The key product of this effort was the development of concise, inclusive diagrams that illustrate the release and retention mechanisms at a high level, where unique schematics have been developed for in-vessel, ex-vessel and sodium fire releases. This review effort has also found that despite the substantial range of phenomena affecting radionuclide release, the current state of knowledge is extensive, and in most areas may be sufficient. Several knowledge gaps were identified, such as uncertainty in release from molten fuel and availability of thermodynamic data for lanthanides and actinides in liquid sodium. However, the overall findings suggest that high retention rates can be expected within the fuel and primary sodium for all radionuclides other than noble gases.« less
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Conference: 2016 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, 04/17/16 - 04/20/16, San Francisco, CA, US
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy - Office of Nuclear Reactor Technologies - Advanced Reactor Technologies (ART)
Country of Publication:
United States