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Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Fuel Enrichment Discrimination Using Delayed Neutrons

[+] Author Affiliations
R. Skoda, J. Rataj, J. Uher

Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Paper No. HTR2008-58133, pp. 491-501; 11 pages
doi:10.1115/HTR2008-58133
From:
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Volume 1
  • Washington, DC, USA, September 28–October 1, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4854-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3834-1
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME

abstract

The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) is a helium-cooled, graphite-moderated high temperature nuclear power reactor which utilise fuel in form of spheres that are randomly loaded and continuously circulated through the core until they reach their prescribed end-of-life burn-up limit. When the reactor is started up for the first time, the lower-enriched start-up fuel is used, mixed with graphite spheres, to bring the core to criticality. As the core criticality is established and the start-up fuel is burned-in, the graphite spheres are progressively removed and replaced with more start-up fuel. Once it becomes necessary for maintaining power output, the higher enriched equilibrium fuel is introduced to the reactor and the start-up fuel is removed. During the initial run of the reactor it is important to discriminate between the irradiated startup fuel and the irradiated equilibrium fuel to ensure that only the equilibrium fuel is returned to the reactor. There is therefore a need for an on-line enrichment discrimination device that can discriminate between irradiated start-up fuel spheres and irradiated equilibrium fuel spheres. The device must also not be confused by the presence of any remaining graphite spheres. Due to it’s on-line nature the device must accomplish the discrimination within tight time limits. Theoretical calculations and experiments show that Fuel Enrichment Discrimination based on delayed neutrons detection is possible. The paper presents calculations and experiments showing viability of the method.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME

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