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Research Papers

Optimization of the Canadian SCWR Core Using Coupled Three-Dimensional Reactor Physics and Thermal-Hydraulics Calculations

[+] Author and Article Information
F. Salaun

Engineering Physics Department,
McMaster University,
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8
e-mail: salaunf@mcmaster.ca

D. R. Novog

Engineering Physics Department,
McMaster University,
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received March 8, 2017; final manuscript received October 31, 2017; published online March 5, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Jovica R. Riznic.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 4(2), 021003 (Mar 05, 2018) (13 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1010; doi: 10.1115/1.4038557 History: Received March 08, 2017; Revised October 31, 2017

The Canadian supercritical water-cooled reactor (SCWR) design is part of Canada's Generation IV reactor development program. The reactor uses batch fueling, light water above the thermodynamic critical point as a coolant and a heavy water moderator. The design has evolved considerably and is currently at the conceptual design level. As a result of batch fueling, a certain amount of excess reactivity is loaded at the beginning of each fueling cycle. This excess reactivity must be controlled using a combination of burnable neutron poisons in the fuel, moderator poisons, and control blades interspersed in the heavy water moderator. Recent studies have shown that the combination of power density, high coolant temperatures, and reactivity management can lead to high maximum cladding surface temperatures (MCST) and maximum fuel centerline temperatures (MFCLT) in this design. This study focuses on improving both the MCST and the MFCLT through modifications of the conceptual design including changes from a 3 to 4 batch fueling cycle, a slightly shortened fuel cycle (although exit burnup remains the same), axial graded fuel enrichment, fuel-integrated burnable neutron absorbers, lower reactivity control blades, and lower reactor thermal powers as compared to the original conceptual design. The optimal blade positions throughout the fuel cycle were determined so as to minimize the MCST and MFCLT using a genetic algorithm and the reactor physics code PARCS. The final design was analyzed using a fully coupled PARCS-RELAP5/SCDAPSIM/MOD4.0 model to accurately predict the MCST as a function of time during a fueling cycle.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Canadian SCWR core and high-efficiency re-entrant channels concept

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Fig. 2

Meshing of the fuel lattice cell

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Fig. 3

Fuel lattice concept with the control blade inserted

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Fig. 4

RELAP/SCDAPSIM/MOD4.0 model

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Fig. 5

Fuel enrichment and burnable absorber concentration along the fuel channel

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Fig. 6

Core-averaged axial power distribution at BOC, MOC, and EOC

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Fig. 7

Improvement of the MCST over the equilibrium cycle without control blades

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Fig. 8

Control blade banks numeration

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Fig. 9

Four-batch refueling scheme

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Fig. 10

Neutronics/thermal-hydraulics coupling process

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Fig. 11

Impact of the variation of the thermal-hydraulic parameters and validation of the interpolation scheme at the bottom (left) and top (right) of the core

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Fig. 12

Improved MCST throughout the batch cycle

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Fig. 13

Improved MFCLT throughout the batch cycle

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Fig. 14

Keff during the batch cycle before and after the insertion of the control blade

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Fig. 15

MLHGR over the batch cycle

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