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The Reactivity Worth of Protactinium-233 Inferred from Measurements

Louis B. Freeman, Herbert C. Hecker

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 80 / Number 2 / February 1982 / Pages 338-341


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In a thorium-fueled reactor, the conversion of 232Th to 233U involves the intermediate nuclide 233Pa. This isotope has a significant reactivity effect in any thorium reactor, especially one with an important epithermal flux component. The light water breeder reactor, operating in the Shippingport atomic power station, is a 233U-Th reactor with about half the power produced at energies above thermal. The reactivity effect of full-power equilibrium 233Pa has been inferred from critical position measurements and control element reactivity worths to be ∼2.5% Δρ in this reactor, confirming calculational predictions.

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