Performance of the Gas Turbine – Modular Helium Reactor fuelled with different types of fertile TRISO particles
2005 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 32, no 16, 1719-1749 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Preliminary studies have been performed on operation of the gas turbine-modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) with a thorium based fuel. The major options for a thorium fuel are a mixture with light water reactors spent fuel, mixture with military plutonium or with with fissile isotopes of uranium. Consequently, we assumed three models of the fuel containing a mixture of thorium with 239Pu, 233U or 235U in TRISO particles with a different kernel radius keeping constant the packing fraction at the level of 37.5%, which corresponds to the current compacting process limit. In order to allow thorium to act as a breeder of fissile uranium and ensure conditions for a self-sustaining fission chain, the fresh fuel must contain a certain quantity of fissile isotope at beginning of life; we refer to the initial fissile nuclide as triggering isotope. The small capture cross-section of 232Th in the thermal neutron energy range, compared to the fission one of the common fissile isotopes (239Pu, 233U and 235U), requires a quantity of thorium 25-30 times greater than that one of the triggering isotope in order to equilibrate the reaction rates. At the same time, the amount of the triggering isotope must be enough to set the criticality condition of the reactor. These two conditions must be simultaneously satisfied. The necessity of a large mass of fuel forces to utilize TRISO particles with a large radius of the kernel, 300 μm. Moreover, in order to improve the neutron economics, a fuel cycle based on thorium requires a low capture to fission ratio of the triggering isotope. Amid the common fissile isotopes, 233U, 235U and 239Pu, we have found that only the uranium nuclides have shown to have the suitable neutronic features to enable the GT-MHR to work on a fuel based on thorium.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 32, no 16, 1719-1749 p.
Fission reactions, Gas turbines, Helium, Light water reactors, Plutonium, Radioisotopes, Spent fuels, Thorium, Uranium
Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5546DOI: 10.1016/j.anucene.2005.06.006ISI: 000233056800002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-27144433532OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-5546DiVA: diva2:9946
QC 201009222006-04-052006-04-052011-11-09Bibliographically approved