Transient behaviour in a BWR with Hafnium Cladding : Feasibility study of using BWRs as Higher Actinide Burners at the Example of Ringhals I

University essay from KTH/Skolan för teknikvetenskap (SCI)

Author: Sebastian Raub; [2011]

Keywords: ;


Transmutation of transuranic elements is of interest to lower storage unit cost and long-term radiotoxicity. To make use of existing infrastructure, the deployment of Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) with hafnium cladding and Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel was proposed, resulting in a hardening of the neutron spectrum. This work tests varying spatial fuel configurations for maximal burn-up, using Serpent, and study their behaviour in common accident scenarios, simulated by a coupled TRACE/PARCS software suite. To this end, we provide a software solution, which serves to transfer Serpent output of a user defined system in a cross section parameter file, readable by TRACE/PARCS.

The results of the transfer were tested for safety performance and, if they provided satisfactory steady states, subjected to a turbine-trip event without bypass, with or without control rod SCRAM. Building on the works by Suvdantstseg [12] and Wallenius & Westlen [7], we chose a Transuranium (TRU) content of 16.48% and a Hafnium-content of 5% with various Higher Actinides (HA) contents and z-axis distributions, intended to either maximize safety performance or minimize void worth and study the results. The chosen fuel loading allows a safe shut-down for both accident scenarios. Sharply rising pressure inside the reactor vessel causes a void collapse. The TRU-content lowers the positive reactivity contribution of increased moderator density, compared to the Uranium Oxide (UOX) baseline. Nonetheless, using a Hf-content of 5% in the cladding and MOX-fuel with 16.48 TRU and 2.06 HA, the void coefficient stays negative during a transitional period of the shutdown, lasting for approximately 200 seconds, before before changing it’s sign.

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