Optimization studies for Seed-and-Blanket Unit (SBU) fuel assemblies in PWRs

Blair P. Bromley, Michael Todosow, Arnold L. Aronson, Alex Galperin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of recent studies as part of a joint NERI project between Brookhaven National Laboratory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology was to develop a seed and blanket unit (SBU) fuel assembly (FA) for thorium utilization in pressured water reactors (PWR). This heterogeneous design utilizes enriched uranium seed and mixed uranium/thorium dioxide blanket fuel pins in physically separable sub-assemblies, and could be used as a one-for-one replacement of more conventional UO2 FA's in PWRs. The seeds are used for three 18-month cycles in a 3-batch fuel core management strategy, while the blankets are used for six 18-month cycles before being removed for long-term storage; the concepts considered here assume a once-through fuel cycle consistent with current U.S. policy. The SBU should have improved proliferation, radiation safety, and comparable economic characteristics in comparison to existing PWR FA's. Optimization studies using the BOXER, COBRA-EN, and ORIGEN codes have led to an improved SBU FA design for PWRs that achieves high burnup (80 GWd/t over 3 cycles for SBU) with reduced proliferation and toxicity characteristics, while satisfying thermal-hydraulic safety limits (minimum departure from nucleate boiling ratio greater than 1.3 for 118% over-power). The SBU is an attractive fuel for existing and next-generation PWR.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the PHYSOR 2004
Subtitle of host publicationThe Physics of Fuel Cycles and Advanced Nuclear Systems - Global Developments
Pages2115-2122
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004
EventPHYSOR 2004: The Physics of Fuel Cycles and Advanced Nuclear Systems - Global Developments - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 200429 Apr 2004

Publication series

NameProceedings of the PHYSOR 2004: The Physics of Fuel Cycles and Advanced Nuclear Systems - Global Developments

Conference

ConferencePHYSOR 2004: The Physics of Fuel Cycles and Advanced Nuclear Systems - Global Developments
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL
Period25/04/0429/04/04

Keywords

  • Fuel design
  • High-burnup
  • PWR
  • Proliferation-resistance
  • Seed-blanket
  • Thorium

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