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Steady-State Subchannel Thermal-Hydraulic Assessment of Proposed Thorium Fuel Designs

A. Nava Dominguez, Y. F. Rao

Nuclear Technology / Volume 203 / Number 2 / August 2018 / Pages 173-193

Technical Paper /

Received:October 11, 2017
Accepted:February 14, 2018
Published:July 3, 2018

The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is developing the technologies to enable the use of thorium-based fuels in pressure tube–heavy water reactors (PT-HWRs). One of the key stages in developing the thorium-based fuels for PT-HWRs is the reactor core configuration. Currently at CNL there are 20 core configurations under investigation, which involve several types of thorium-based fuels that could be implemented in a 700-MW(electric)-class PT-HWR. Among these core configurations, four fuel bundle concepts are being considered: (1) the reference (or nominal) 37-element bundle; (2) a 37-element modified bundle, with the center element using a different fuel material; (3) a 35-element bundle; and (4) an 18-element internally cooled annular fuel bundle. This study presents the steady-state subchannel thermal-hydraulic assessment of the 20 core configurations under investigation. The hottest channel approach is used in this study, as it represents the upper limit of a feasible design. The axial and element power distributions used in the analysis correspond to those of the discharge burnup. Three mass flows are considered in this study: 13.5, 21, and 24 kg/s. Five parameters are used to evaluate the fuel channel/bundle performance, namely, minimum critical heat flux ratio, channel pressure drop, enthalpy distribution, void fraction, and core power.