Method for investigating the applicability of thorium-based fules in existing BWRs
Paper in proceedings, 2009
In this paper, a methodology for investigating the applicability of thorium based fuels in existing Boiling Water Reactors is described. The same tools and methods as those used in this study are also used for design of new fuel batches for existing reactors. As an illustration of the proposed methodology and for the purpose of comparing different fissile components for thorium-based fuel, three different thorium-based fuel designs were developed, and a low enriched uranium fuel design was created in parallel as a reference. The different fuel assemblies, which are based on the mechanical fuel design GE14, were analyzed with the Studsvik Scandpower CASMO-4E code. The linear reactivity model was used to decide a suitable initial fissile content for meeting the burnup goal of 55 MWd/kgHM and the designs were optimized for attaining an even power distribution and for keeping boiling transition factors low. Such optimizations facilitate core designs that would meet prevalent demands on Linear Heat Generation Rate (LHGR) and Critical Power Ratio (CPR). The hence created fuel designs were then analyzed with regards to thermal performance, reactivity coefficients, delayed neutron fractions and control rod worths. An equilibrium core loading pattern was also developed with each one of the thus created fuel designs and analyzed with the three dimensional reactor analysis code SIMULATE-3, also developed by Studsvik Scandpower. The results of the two simulations were compared and found to be coherent, and no major obstacles were met using the given tools and methods. The analysis of the performances of the fuel assemblies and the corresponding loaded cores is reported in a companion paper (K. Insulander Björk, V. Fhager, and C. Demazière, “Comparison of Thorium-Based Fuels with Different Fissile Components in Existing BWRs”).