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Inherent Safety of Fuels for Accelerator-driven Systems
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Reactor Physics.
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Reactor Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6082-8913
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Reactor Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6818-5724
Argonne National Laboratory, Nuclear Engineering Division.
2005 (English)In: Nuclear Technology, ISSN 0029-5450, Vol. 151, no 3, 314-333 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transient safety characteristics of accelerator-driven systems using advanced minor actinide fuels have been investigated. Results for a molybdenum-based Ceramic-Metal (CerMet) fuel, a magnesia-based Ceramic-Ceramic fuel, and a zirconium-nitride-based fuel are reported. The focus is on the inherent safety aspects of core design. Accident analyses are carried out for the response to unprotected loss-of-flow and accelerator beam-overpower transients and coolant voiding scenarios. An attempt is made to establish basic design limits for the fuel and cladding. Maximum temperatures during transients are determined and compared with design limits. Reactivity effects associated with coolant void, fuel and structural expansion, and cladding relocation are investigated. Design studies encompass variations in lattice pitch and pin diameter. Critical mass studies are performed. The studies indicate favorable inherent safety features of the CerMet fuel. Major consideration is given to the potential threat of coolant voiding in accelerator-driven design proposals. Results for a transient test case study of a postulated steam generator tube rupture event leading to extensive coolant voiding are presented. The study underlines the importance of having a low coolant void reactivity value in a lead-bismuth system despite the high boiling temperature of the coolant. It was found that the power rise following a voiding transient increases dramatically near the critical state. The studies suggest that a reactivity margin of a few dollars in the voided state is sufficient to permit significant reactivity insertions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 151, no 3, 314-333 p.
Keyword [en]
accelerator-driven systems, accidents, minor actinide fuel
National Category
Subatomic Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4980ISI: 000231203900010ScopusID: 2-s2.0-23844448469OAI: diva2:7336
QC 20101008. Uppdaterad från accepted till published (20101008).Available from: 2005-03-07 Created: 2005-03-07 Last updated: 2010-10-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Accelerator-driven systems: safety and kinetics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Accelerator-driven systems: safety and kinetics
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The accelerator-driven system (ADS) is recognized as a promising system for the purpose of nuclear waste transmutation and minimization of spent fuel radiotoxicity. The primary cause for this derives from its accelerator-driven, sub-critical operating state, which introduces beneficial safety-related features allowing for application of cores employing fuel systems containing pure transuranics or minor actinides, thereby offering increased incineration rate of waste products and minimal deployment of advanced (and expensive) partitioning and transmutation technologies. The main theme of the thesis is safety and kinetics performance of accelerator-driven nuclear reactors. The studies are confined to the examination of ADS design proposals employing fast neutron spectrum, uranium-free lattice fuels, and liquid-metal cooling, with emphasis on lead-bismuth coolant. The thesis consists of computational studies under normal operation and hypothetical accidents, and of evaluation and identification of safety design features.

By itself, subcritical operation provides a distinct safety advantage over critical reactor operation, distinguished by high operational stability and additional margins for positive reactivity insertion. For a uranium-free minor actinide based fuel important safety parameters deteriorate. Specific analyses suggest that operation of such cores in a critical state would be very difficult. The studies of unprotected transients indicate that lead-bismuth cooled accelerator-driven reactors can be effective in addressing the low effective delayed neutron fraction and the high coolant void reactivity that comes with the minor actinide fuel, but some supportive prompt negative feedback mechanism might be considered necessary to compensate for a weak Doppler effect in case of a prompt critical transient. Although lead-bismuth features a high boiling point, the work underlines the importance of maintaining a low coolant void reactivity value. The transient design studies identified a molybdenum-based Ceramic-Metal (CerMet) fuel with favourable inherent safety features. A higher lattice pitch is suggested to avoid mechanical failure during unprotected loss-of-flow. Detailed coupled neutron kinetics and thermal hydraulic analyses demonstrated that the point kinetics approximation is capable of providing highly accurate transient calculations of subcritical systems. The results suggest better precision at lower keff levels, which is an effect of the reduced sensitivity to system reactivity perturbations in a subcritical state resulting in small spatial distortions. In the course of a beam reliability study, the accelerator was identified as responsible for frequent beam interruptions. It is clear that extensive improvement in the mean-time between beam failures is required.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. 73 p.
Trita-FYS, ISSN 0280-316X ; 2005:13
Nuclear physics, Kärnfysik
National Category
Subatomic Physics
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-146 (URN)91-7283-988-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-03-18, Sal FA32, AlbaNova, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 10:00
QC 20101011Available from: 2005-03-07 Created: 2005-03-07 Last updated: 2010-10-11Bibliographically approved

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