Reactor physics behavior of transuranic-bearing triso-particle fuel in a pressurized water reactor

Michael A. Pope, Ramazan Sonat Sen, Abderrafi M. Ougouag, Gilles J. Youinou, Brian Boer

    Research outputpeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Calculations have been performed to assess the neutronic behavior of pins of Fully-Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel in otherwise-conventional Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) fuel pins. The FCM fuel contains transuranic (TRU) - only oxide fuel in tri-isotropic (TRISO) particles with the TRU loading coming from the spent fuel of a conventional LWR after 5 years of cooling. Use of the TRISO particle fuel would provide an additional barrier to fission product release in the event of cladding failure. Depletion calculations were performed to evaluate reactivity-limited burnup of the TRU-only FCM fuel. These calculations showed that due to relatively little space available for fuel, the achievable burnup with these pins alone is quite small. Various reactivity parameters were also evaluated at each burnup step including moderator temperature coefficient (MTC), Doppler, and soluble boron worth. These were compared to reference UO2 and MOX unit cells. The TRU-only FCM fuel exhibits degraded MTC and Doppler coefficients relative to UO2 and MOX. Also, the reactivity effects of coolant voiding suggest that the behavior of this fuel would be similar to a MOX fuel of very high plutonium fraction, which are known to have positive void reactivity. In general, loading of TRU-only FCM fuel into an assembly without significant quantities of uranium presents challenges to the reactor design. However, if such FCM fuel pins are included in a heterogeneous assembly alongside LEU fuel pins, the overall reactivity behavior would be dominated by the uranium pins while attractive TRU destruction performance levels in the TRU-only FCM fuel pins is retained. From this work, it is concluded that use of heterogeneous assemblies such as these appears feasible from a preliminary reactor physics standpoint.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Conference on the Physics of Reactors 2012, PHYSOR 2012
    Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Reactor Physics
    Number of pages15
    StatePublished - 2012
    EventInternational Conference on the Physics of Reactors 2012: Advances in Reactor Physics, PHYSOR 2012 - Knoxville, TN
    Duration: 15 Apr 201220 Apr 2012

    Publication series

    NameInternational Conference on the Physics of Reactors 2012, PHYSOR 2012: Advances in Reactor Physics


    ConferenceInternational Conference on the Physics of Reactors 2012: Advances in Reactor Physics, PHYSOR 2012
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityKnoxville, TN

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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