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Title: Cermet fuel reactors

Cermet fueled nuclear reactors are attractive candidates for high performance space power systems. The cermet fuel consists of tungsten-urania hexagonal fuel blocks characterized by high strength at elevated temperatures, a high thermal conductivity and resultant high thermal shock resistance. Key features of the cermet fueled reactor design are (1) the ability to achieve very high coolant exit temperatures, and (2) thermal shock resistance during rapid power changes, and (3) two barriers to fission product release - the cermet matrix and the fuel element cladding. Additionally, thre is a potential for achieving a long operating life because of (1) the neutronic insensitivity of the fast-spectrum core to the buildup of fission products and (2) the utilization of a high strength refractory metal matrix and structural materials. These materials also provide resistance against compression forces that potentially might compact and/or reconfigure the core. In addition, the neutronic properties of the refractory materials assure that the reactor remains substantially subcritical under conditions of water immersion. It is concluded that cermet fueled reactors can be utilized to meet the power requirements for a broad range of advanced space applications. 4 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5535958
Report Number(s):
PNL-SA-15304; CONF-871234-6
ON: DE88003945; TRN: 88-004801
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: ASME winter meeting, Boston, MA, USA, 13 Dec 1987; Other Information: Portions of this document are illegible in microfiche products
Research Org:
General Electric Co., Fairfield, CT (USA); Argonne National Lab., IL (USA); Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA (USA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; DESIGN; FUEL ELEMENTS; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; CERMETS; REACTOR MATERIALS; TUNGSTEN; COMPOSITE MATERIALS; ELEMENTS; MATERIALS; METALS; MOBILE REACTORS; POWER REACTORS; PROPULSION REACTORS; REACTOR COMPONENTS; REACTORS; TRANSITION ELEMENTS NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems 210600* -- Power Reactors, Auxiliary, Mobile Package, & Transportable; 220800 -- Nuclear Reactor Technology-- Propulsion Reactors