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Research Papers

Neutronics Analysis of Small Compact Prismatic Nuclear Reactors for Space Crafts

[+] Author and Article Information
Xie Yang

Key Laboratory of Advanced Reactor Engineering
and Safety of Ministry of Education,
Collaborative Innovation Center of
Advanced Nuclear Energy Technology,
Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: yxheneng@163.com

Ding She

Key Laboratory of Advanced Reactor Engineering
and Safety of Ministry of Education,
Collaborative Innovation Center of
Advanced Nuclear Energy Technology,
Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: sheding@tsinghua.edu.cn

Lei Shi

Key Laboratory of Advanced Reactor Engineering
and Safety of Ministry of Education,
Collaborative Innovation Center of
Advanced Nuclear Energy Technology,
Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: shlinet@tsinghua.edu.cn

Manuscript received September 25, 2017; final manuscript received November 24, 2017; published online March 5, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Leon Cizelj.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 4(2), 021006 (Mar 05, 2018) (5 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1123; doi: 10.1115/1.4038774 History: Received September 25, 2017; Revised November 24, 2017

Due to the advantages of small volume, light weight, and long-time running, nuclear reactor can provide an ideal energy source for space crafts. In this paper, two small compact prismatic nuclear reactors with different core block materials are presented, which have a thermal power of 5 MW for 10 years of equivalent full power operation. These two reactors use Mo-14%Re alloy or nuclear grade graphite IG110 as core block material, loaded with 50% and 39.5% enriched uranium nitride (UN) fuel and cooled by helium, whose inlet/outlet temperature of the reactor and operational pressure are 850/1300 K and 2 MPa, respectively. High temperature helium flowing out of the reactor can be used as the working medium for closed Brayton cycle power conversion with high efficiency (more than 20%). Neutronics analyses of reactors for the preliminary design in this paper are performed using reactor Monte Carlo (RMC) code developed by Tsinghua University. Both the reactors have enough initial excess reactivity to ensure 10 years of full power operation without refueling, have safety margin for reactor shutdown with one control drum failed, and remain subcritical in the submersion accident. Finally, the two reactors are compared in aspect of the 235U mass and the total reactor mass.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 5

Neutron energy spectrum distribution of reactor core in case A with/without SSA addition

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Fig. 3

A view of UN fuel rod

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagrams of fuel stacks, core block, and reactor core

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Fig. 1

Three-dimensional, axial and radial cross section views of case A: (a) Three-dimensional, (b) axial cross section, and (c) radial cross section

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Fig. 4

Excess reactivity decreasing curves with increasing of burnup

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