Development of a setup for the on-line measurement of mercury evaporation from lead-bismuth eutectic

Michiel Rodiers, Borja González Prieto

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    With the development of the MYRRHA system, SCK•CEN is at the forefront of research on new generations of nuclear reactors. In MYRRHA liquid lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) will be used as spallation target and coolant. During operation of MYRRHA traces of radioactive mercury will be formed due to nuclear reactions with LBE. Because mercury has a high volatility it will easily evaporate out of LBE. Volatile radioactive mercury is easily transported and therefore presents a safety issue. The objective of this master's thesis is to determine the evaporation of mercury out of LBE. For this purpose, the construction of a new setup to determine mercury evaporation online was finalized and the setup was commissioned. Several calibration methods were investigated. Subsequently, the evaporation of mercury from LBE was studied. It was found that mercury dissolved at ppm levels evaporates from liquid LBE slightly less than expected on the basis of Raoult’s law. Notably, evaporation from solid LBE was much higher than from the liquid.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • KHLIM - Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg
    • Aerts, Alexander, Supervisor
    • Thomassen, Leen, Supervisor, External person
    Place of PublicationDiepenbeek, Belgium
    StatePublished - Jun 2013

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