Home / Store / Journals / Electronic Articles / Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 137 / Number 1 / Pages 96-106
Jan Wallenius, Kamil Tucek, Johan Carlsson, Waclaw Gudowski
Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 137 / Number 1 / Pages 96-106
Format:electronic copy (download)
The application of burnable absorbers (BAs) to minimize power peaking, reactivity loss, and capture-to-fission probabilities in an accelerator-driven waste transmutation system has been investigated. Boron-10-enriched B4C absorber rods were introduced into a lead-bismuth-cooled core fueled with transuranic (TRU) discharges from light water reactors to achieve the smallest possible power peakings at beginning-of-life (BOL) subcriticality level of 0.97. Detailed Monte Carlo simulations show that a radial power peaking equal to 1.2 at BOL is attainable using a four-zone differentiation in BA content. Using a newly written Monte Carlo burnup code, reactivity losses were calculated to be 640 pcm per percent TRU burnup for unrecycled TRU discharges. Comparing to corresponding values in BA-free cores, BA introduction diminishes reactivity losses in TRU-fueled subcritical cores by ~20%. Radial power peaking after 300 days of operation at 1200-MW thermal power was <1.75 at a subcriticality level of ~0.92, which appears to be acceptable, with respect to limitations in cladding and fuel temperatures. In addition, the use of BAs yields significantly higher fission-to-capture probabilities in even-neutron-number nuclides. Fission-to-absorption probability ratio for 241Am equal to 0.33 was achieved in the configuration studied. Hence, production of the strong alpha-emitter 242Cm is reduced, leading to smaller fuel-swelling rates and pin pressurization. Disadvantages following BA introduction, such as increase of void worth and decrease of Doppler feedback in conjunction with small values of eff, need to be addressed by detailed studies of subcritical core dynamics.
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