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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
The ongoing effort to convert the world’s research reactors
The Ghana Research Reactor-1, located in Accra, Ghana, was converted from HEU fuel to LEU in 2017. Photo: Argonne National Laboratory
In late 2018, Nigeria’s sole operating nuclear research reactor, NIRR-1, switched to a safer uranium fuel. Coming just 18 months on the heels of a celebrated conversion in Ghana, the NIRR-1 reboot passed without much fanfare. However, the switch marked an important global milestone: NIRR-1 was the last of Africa’s 11 operating research reactors to run on high-enriched uranium fuel.
The 40-year effort to make research reactors safer and more secure by replacing HEU fuel with low-enriched uranium is marked by a succession of quiet but immeasurably significant milestones like these. Before Africa, a team of engineers from many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, concluded its conversion work in South America and Australia. Worldwide, 71 reactors in nearly 40 countries have undergone conversions to LEU, defined as less than 20 percent uranium-235. Another 31 research reactors have been permanently shut down.
N. Bidica et al.
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 54 | Number 2 | August 2008 | Pages 346-349
Technical Paper | Tritium in Fission | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST08-A1828
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
In this paper we present a methodology for determination of tritium inventory in a tritium removal facility. The method proposed is based on the developing of computing models for accountancy of the mobile tritium inventory in the separation processes, of the stored tritium and of the trapped tritium inventory in the structure of the process system components. The configuration of the detritiation process is a combination of isotope catalytic exchange between water and hydrogen (LPCE) and the cryogenic distillation of hydrogen isotopes (CD). The computing model for tritium inventory in the LPCE process and the CD process will be developed basing on mass transfer coefficients in catalytic isotope exchange reactions and in dual-phase system (liquid-vapour) of hydrogen isotopes distillation process. Accounting of tritium inventory stored in metallic hydride will be based on in-bed calorimetry. Estimation of the trapped tritium inventory can be made by subtraction of the mobile and stored tritium inventories from the global tritium inventory of the plant area. Determinations of the global tritium inventory of the plant area will be made on a regular basis by measuring any tritium quantity entering or leaving the plant area. This methodology is intended to be applied to the Heavy Water Detritiation Pilot Plant from ICIT Rm. Valcea (Romania) and to the Cernavoda Tritium Removal Facility (which will be built in the next 5-7 years).