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Energies 2013, 6(4), 2291-2304;

Effect of Burnable Absorbers on Inert Matrix Fuel Performance and Transuranic Burnup in a Low Power Density Light-Water Reactor

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C2200, Austin, TX 78715-0162, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2013 / Revised: 20 March 2013 / Accepted: 4 April 2013 / Published: 22 April 2013
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Zirconium dioxide has received particular attention as a fuel matrix because of its ability to form a solid solution with transuranic elements, natural radiation stability and desirable mechanical properties. However, zirconium dioxide has a lower coefficient of thermal conductivity than uranium dioxide and this presents an obstacle to the deployment of these fuels in commercial reactors. Here we show that axial doping of a zirconium dioxide based fuel with erbium reduces power peaking and fuel temperature. Full core simulations of a modified AP1000 core were done using MCNPX 2.7.0. The inert matrix fuel contained 15 w/o transuranics at its beginning of life and constituted 28% of the assemblies in the core. Axial doping reduced power peaking at startup by more than ~23% in the axial direction and reduced the peak to average power within the core from 1.80 to 1.44. The core was able to remain critical between refueling while running at a simulated 2000 MWth on an 18 month refueling cycle. The results show that the reactor would maintain negative core average reactivity and void coefficients during operation. This type of fuel cycle would reduce the overall production of transuranics in a pressurized water reactor by 86%. View Full-Text
Keywords: transmutation; inert matrix fuel; light water reactor transmutation; inert matrix fuel; light water reactor

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Recktenwald, G.; Deinert, M. Effect of Burnable Absorbers on Inert Matrix Fuel Performance and Transuranic Burnup in a Low Power Density Light-Water Reactor. Energies 2013, 6, 2291-2304.

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