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Evaluation of the Enhanced LEU Fuel (ELF) Design for Conversion of the Advanced Test Reactor to a Low-Enrichment Fuel Cycle

Mark D. DeHart, Zain Karriem, Michael A. Pope

Nuclear Technology / Volume 201 / Number 3 / March 2018 / Pages 247-266

Technical Paper / dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2017.1322451

Received:February 13, 2017
Accepted:April 14, 2017
Published:February 16, 2018

A conceptual low-enrichment uranium (LEU) fuel design has been developed for the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at Idaho National Laboratory. The ATR is currently fueled with a high-enrichment fuel but is slated to be converted to LEU under programs led by the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. A conceptual LEU fuel design, the Enhanced LEU Fuel (ELF), has been developed assuming power peaking control through the use of variable fuel meat thicknesses and no use of burnable poison. In initial work, this design was shown to satisfy performance requirements for ATR operation. Following these design calculations, a safety analysis process was initiated to demonstrate that the ELF design would successfully meet safety limits for postulated accident conditions. Those calculations, performed using RELAP5 and ATR-SINDA, require physics analysis to provide spatial power distributions and kinetics parameters for various core operations configurations. This article describes the findings of the physics analysis and provides predictions for the behavior of a LEU-fueled version of ATR, and compares these to calculations of the performance of the current high-enrichment uranium fuel.

 
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