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CANDLE: The New Burnup Strategy

Hiroshi Sekimoto, Kouichi Ryu, Yoshikane Yoshimura

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 139 / Number 3 / November 2001 / Pages 306-317


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The new burnup strategy CANDLE (Constant Axial shape of Neutron flux, nuclide densities and power shape During Life of Energy production) is proposed. With this burnup strategy, distributions of fuel nuclide densities, neutron flux, and power density move with the same constant speed and without any change in their shapes. The excess reactivity is constant during the burnup. Therefore, any control mechanisms for the burnup are not required. Calculation procedures are presented to find these shapes and the speed of the burning region with the neutron multiplication factor of a reactor employing this burnup strategy.

To demonstrate the CANDLE burnup strategy, it is applied to a fast reactor with excellent neutron economy. Only the initially built reactor requires some fissile material such as plutonium or enriched uranium for the nuclear ignition region of its core, but only natural uranium or depleted uranium is required for the other region. Succeeding reactors require only natural or depleted uranium since the burning region of the previous reactor can be utilized for the ignition region. The life of a reactor can be made longer by elongating the core height. The drift speed of the burning region for the presented fast reactor design is ~4 cm/yr, which is a preferable value for designing a long-life reactor. The burnup of spent fuel is ~40%. It is equivalent to 40% utilization of natural uranium without reprocessing and enrichment.

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