Core design options for high conversion BWRs operating in Th- 233U fuel cycle

Y. Shaposhnik, E. Shwageraus, E. Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Several options of fuel assembly design are investigated for a BWR core operating in a closed self-sustainable Th-233U fuel cycle. The designs rely on an axially heterogeneous fuel assembly structure consisting of a single axial fissile zone "sandwiched" between two fertile blanket zones, in order to improve fertile to fissile conversion ratio. The main objective of the study was to identify the most promising assembly design parameters, dimensions of fissile and fertile zones, for achieving net breeding of 233U. The design challenge, in this respect, is that the fuel breeding potential is at odds with axial power peaking and the core minimum critical power ratio (CPR), hence limiting the maximum achievable core power rating. Calculations were performed with the BGCore system, which consists of the MCNP code coupled with fuel depletion and thermo-hydraulic feedback modules. A single 3-dimensional fuel assembly having reflective radial boundaries was modeled applying simplified restrictions on the maximum centerline fuel temperature and the CPR. It was found that axially heterogeneous fuel assembly design with a single fissile zone can potentially achieve net breeding, while matching conventional BWR core power rating under certain restrictions to the core loading pattern design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2013


  • BWR
  • High conversion
  • Seed blanket
  • Self-sustainable thorium fuel cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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