Fuel burnup performance of an OTTO refueling pebble bed reactor with burnable poison loading
Journal article, 2012
Fuel burnup performance has been analyzed for a pebble bed reactor with a once-through-then-out (OTTO) refueling scheme and compared with a reference multi-pass scheme. A new fuel pebble was designed by adding spherical B4C particles into its free fuel zone for controlling the infinite multiplication factor during burnup, and then reducing the axial power peak of the OTTO scheme. The objective is to maximize the fuel burnup performance of the OTTO scheme while keeping the power peak under a limit and ensuring the core criticality. Numerical calculations were performed based on the 400 MWt pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) using the MVP code. For the fuel pebble of the PBMR containing 9 g uranium with 9.6 wt% U-235 enrichment, 1600 B4C particles with a radius of 70 mu m are determined to flatten the k(infinity) curve in the early burnup stage. The dependences of the neutronic properties of the core with the OTTO scheme on target fuel burnup show that the maximum target burnup of 74 GWd/t can be achieved so that the power peak is reduced to about 10.80 W/cm(3) which is approximate that of the multi-pass scheme (10.85 W/cm(3)). This target burnup is about 22% less than that of the multi-pass scheme (95 GWd/t), i.e. the fuel utilization efficiency of the OTTO scheme is about 22% lower, which could be compensated by the construction and operation cost of the fuel handling system. This result also suggests that further investigations of the fuel burnup performance and other properties are needed in both neutronic and thermal hydraulic viewpoints to find out the optimal core performance.
Fuel burnup performance
Pebble bed reactor