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

James D. Freels

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Research Reactors Division

Prashant K. Jain

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division

Guillermo Maldonado

University of Tennessee, Department of Nuclear Engineering

1Corresponding author.

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


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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