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Energies 2018, 11(6), 1507; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11061507

Reducing Irradiation Damage in a Long-Life Fast Reactor with Spectral Softening

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
2
Nuclear Science and Engineering, The Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
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Abstract

Long-life fast reactors receive considerable attention for their potential of using uranium efficiently, and because they can operate for extended periods without refueling. However, the main obstacle to achieving maximum operating times and fuel burnup is the neutron radiation damage that accumulates in the cladding and structural materials. Simulations of metal-fueled high-burnup fast reactors showed that the damage in these reactors’ cladding material reached 200 displacements per atom (dpa) long before the maximum burnup was achieved. One possibility for overcoming this problem is spectral softening, which would reduce the kinetic energy imparted to reactor materials when neutrons collide with them. In this work, we compared the peak irradiation damage in metal- and oxide-fueled fast reactors with that in equivalent reactors containing beryllium in the fuel and reflectors. We showed that the peak damage to the cladding in a metal-fueled reactor was reduced from 273 dpa to 230 dpa when beryllium was included in the core. In an oxide-fueled reactor, the peak damage to the cladding was reduced from 225 dpa to 203 dpa. All four reactors were operated with a core-average burnup of 112 MWd/kg of initial heavy metal (IHM), without reshuffling or refueling, and contained the same initial actinide mass profiles. View Full-Text
Keywords: fast reactor; long-life; irradiation damage; displacements per atom (dpa) fast reactor; long-life; irradiation damage; displacements per atom (dpa)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Osborne, A.G.; Deinert, M.R. Reducing Irradiation Damage in a Long-Life Fast Reactor with Spectral Softening. Energies 2018, 11, 1507.

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