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Thermo-mechanical Safety Analyses for 238Pu Production Target at the HFIR

[+] Author and Article Information
Christopher J. Hurt

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Research Reactors Division
churt2@vols.utk.edu

James D. Freels

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Research Reactors Division
freelsjd@ornl.gov

Prashant K. Jain

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division
jainpk@ornl.gov

Guillermo Maldonado

University of Tennessee, Department of Nuclear Engineering
imaldona@utk.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041295 History: Received July 12, 2016; Revised August 17, 2018

Abstract

Safety analyses at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) are required to qualify irradiation of production targets containing neptunium dioxide/aluminum cermet (NpO2/Al) pellets for the production of plutonium-238 (238Pu). High heat generation rates due to a fertile starting material (237Np), low melting temperatures, and previously unstudied material irradiation behavior (i.e. swelling/densification, fission gas release) require a sophisticated set of steady-state thermal simulations in order to ensure sufficient safety margins. Experience gained from previous models for preliminary target designs is incorporated into a more comprehensive production target model designed to qualify a target for 3 cycles of irradiation and illuminate potential in-reactor behavior of the target.

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