Study of Thorium-Plutonium Fuel for Possible Operating Cycle Extension in PWRs
Journal article, 2013

Computer simulations have been carried out to investigate the possibility of extending operating cycle length in the Pressurised Water Reactor Ringhals 3 by the use of thorium-plutonium oxide fuel. The calculations have been carried out using tools and methods that are normally employed for reload design and safety evaluation in Ringhals 3. The 3-batch reload scheme and the power level have been kept unchanged, and a normal uranium oxide fuel assembly designed for a 12-month operating cycle in this reactor is used as a reference. The use of plutonium as the fissile component reduces the worth of control rods and soluble boron, which makes it necessary to modify the control systems. The delayed neutron fraction is low compared with the reference, but simulations and qualitative assessments of relevant transients indicate that the reactor could still be operated safely. Differences in reactivity coefficients are mainly beneficial for the outcome of transient simulations for the thorium based fuel. A 50% extension of the current 12-month operating cycle length should be possible with thorium-plutonium mixed oxide fuel, given an upgrade of the control systems. More detailed simulations have to be carried out for some transients in order to confirm the qualitative reasoning presented.

nuclear reactor





Klara L Insulander Björk

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Nuclear Engineering

Cheuk Wah Lau

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Nuclear Engineering

H. Nylén

Ringhals AB

U. Sandberg

Ringhals AB

Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations

1687-6075 (ISSN) 1687-6083 (eISSN)

Vol. 2013 867561

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