Research Papers

Neutronic Study of Burnable Poison Materials and Their Alternative Configurations in Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated Loaded Pressurized Water Reactor Fuel Assembly

[+] Author and Article Information
Muhammad Qasim Awan

School of Nuclear Science and Technology,
Xi'an Jiaotong University,
No. 28, Xianning West Road,
Xi'an 710049, Shaanxi, China
e-mail: awan-necp@stu.xjtu.edu.cn

Liangzhi Cao

School of Nuclear Science and Technology,
Xi'an Jiaotong University,
No. 28, Xianning West Road,
Xi'an 710049, Shaanxi, China
e-mail: caolz@mail.xjtu.edu.cn

Hongchun Wu

School of Nuclear Science and Technology,
Xi'an Jiaotong University,
No. 28, Xianning West Road,
Xi'an 710049, Shaanxi, China
e-mail: hongchun@mail.xjtu.edu.cn

Chuanqi Zhao

Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center,
Ministry of Environmental Protection,
Beijing 100142, China
e-mail: zhaochuanqi@chinansc.cn

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 19, 2017; final manuscript received April 7, 2018; published online September 10, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Akos Horvath.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 4(4), 041003 (Sep 10, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1165; doi: 10.1115/1.4039971 History: Received October 19, 2017; Revised April 07, 2018

Use of FCM fuel in light water reactors is an attractive option for existing and future generations of these reactors to make them accident tolerant in nature. This work focuses on the neutronic study of the use of burnable material in various configurations to control the excess reactivity and to keep the moderator temperature coefficient of reactivity (MTC) feedback negative for entire cycle length. Erbia and gadolinia, two conventional materials are used in three different configurations including quadruple isotropic (QUADRISO), bi-isotropic (BISO), and Matrix Mix forms. The results obtained from the implicit random treatment of the double heterogeneity of tri-structural isotropic (TRISO), QUADRISO, and BISO particles show that the erbia is the best material to be used in QUADRISO and Matrix Mix configurations with lowest reactivity swing for the life cycle and residual poison well below 0.5%. Gadolinia is usable in FCM environment only in the BISO form where enhanced self-shielding controls the depletion performance of the material. The gadolinia has almost zero residual poison at end of cycle (EOC); however, it has relatively large reactivity swing, which will need more micromanagement of the control rods during the plant operations. At the beginning of cycle (BOC), erbia-loaded assemblies have shown an increase in negative value of MTC compared with reference due to presence of resonance peak in erbium near 1 eV. The finally recommended material-configuration combinations have shown the excess reactivity containment in desired manner with good depletion performance and negative feedback of the MTC for life cycle.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Description of TRISO particle

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Fig. 2

FCM loaded 13 × 13 squared array fuel assembly

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Fig. 3

Locations of 56 BP rods in FCM assembly

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Fig. 4

Relative pin-by-pin power distribution in fuel assembly: (a) No BP rod and (b) 56 BP Rod

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Fig. 5

Various configurations of BP material

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Fig. 6

MTC as a function of burnup

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Fig. 7

Scoping analysis on reactivity containment and depletion performance of Erbia and Gadolinia in alternative configuration: (a) Gd2O3 = 484 g/FA, Er2O3 = 591 g/FA; (b) Gd2O3 = 963 g/FA, Er2O3 = 1177 g/FA; (c) Gd2O3 = 1437 g/FA, Er2O3 = 1756 g/FA; (d) Gd2O3 = 1907 g/FA, Er2O3 = 2330 g/FA; (e) Gd2O3 = 2371 g/FA, Er2O3 = 2898 g/FA; (f) Gd2O3 = 2831 g/FA, Er2O3 = 3460 g/FA

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Fig. 8

Best configurations-material combinations on reactivity containment and depletion performance

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Fig. 9

Depletion performance of 155Gd & 157Gd in alternate configurations

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Fig. 10

Depletion performance of 167Er in alternate configurations

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Fig. 11

MTC as a function of burnup for accepted material-configuration combinations



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