In 1966, Philadelphia Electric has put into operation the Peach Bottom I nuclear reactor, it was the first high temperature gas reactor (HTGR); the pioneering of the helium-cooled and graphite-moderated power reactors continued with the Fort St. Vrain and THTR reactors, which operated until 1989. The experience on HTGRs lead General Atomics to design the gas turbine - modular helium reactor (GT-MHR), which adapts the previous HTGRs to the generation IV of nuclear reactors. One of the major benefits of the GT-MHR is the ability to work on the most different types of fuels: light water reactors waste, military plutonium, MOX and thorium. In this work, we focused on the last type of fuel and we propose a mixture of 40% thorium and 60% uranium. In a uranium-thorium fuel, three fissile isotopes mainly sustain the criticality of the reactor: U-235, which represents the 20% of the fresh uranium, U-233, which is produced by the transmutation of fertile Th-212, and Pu-239, which is produced by the transmutation of fertile U-238. In order to compensate the depletion of U-235 with the breeding of U-233 and Pu-239, the quantity of fertile nuclides must be much larger than that one of 235 U because of the small capture cross-section of the fertile nuclides, in the thermal neutron energy range, compared to that one of U-235. At the same time, the amount of U-235 must be large enough to set the criticality condition of the reactor. The simultaneous satisfaction of the two above constrains induces the necessity to load the reactor with a huge mass of fuel; that is accomplished by equipping the fuel pins with the JAERI TRISO particles. We start the operation of the reactor with loading fresh fuel into all the three rings of the GT-MHR and after 810 days we initiate a refueling and shuffling schedule that, in 9 irradiation periods, approaches the equilibrium of the fuel composition. The analysis of the k(eff) and mass evolution, reaction rates, neutron flux and spectrum at the equilibrium of the fuel composition, highlights the features of a deep burn in-core fuel management strategy for a uranium-thorium fuel.
2005. Vol. 32, no 16, 1750-1781 p.