Investigation of Fuel Burnup Impacts on Reactor Physics Phenomena in the Canadian Pressure Tube Supercritical Water-cool Reactor

[+] Author and Article Information
Ahmad Moghrabi

McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L8

David Novog

McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L8

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037895 History: Received May 23, 2017; Revised August 24, 2017


The Canadian Pressure-Tube Super Critical Water-cooled Reactor (PT-SCWR) is an advanced Generation IV (GEN-IV) reactor concept which is considered as an evolution of the conventional CANada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactor that includes both pressure tubes and a low temperature and pressure heavy water moderator. The Canadian PT-SCWR fuel assembly utilizes a Plutonium and Thorium fuel mixture with SuperCritical light Water (SCW) coolant flowing through the High-Efficiency Re-entrance Channel (HERC). In this work, the impact of fuel depletion on the evolution of lattice physics phenomena were investigated starting from fresh fuel to burnup conditions (25 MW·d·kg-1 [HM]) through sensitivity and uncertainty analyses using the lattice physics modules in SCALE (Standardized Computer Analysis for Licensing Evaluation). Given the evolution of key phenomena such as void reactivity and fuel temperature coefficient of reactivity in traditional CANDU reactors with burnup, this study focuses on the impact of fission products, 233U breeding, and actinides on fuel performance. The work shows that the most significant change in fuel properties with burnup is the depletion of fission isotopes of Pu and the buildup of high-neutron cross section fission products, resulting in a decrease in cell k8 with burnup as expected. Other impacts such as the presence of Protactinium and Uranium-233 are also discussed.

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