Comparison of thorium-based fuels with different fissile components in existing BWRs
Paper in proceedings, 2009
Three different types of thorium based BWR fuel have been developed, in each of which thorium was combined with a different fissile component, the three components being reactor grade plutonium, uranium enriched to 20% in uranium 235 and pure uranium 233. A BWR nuclear bundle design, based on the geometrical fuel assembly design GE14, was developed for each of these fissile components. The properties and performance of the corresponding fuel assemblies were investigated via full core calculations carried out for an existing BWR and compared with the ones of an ordinary Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fuel, which was developed for reference. The fuel assemblies and cores were designed to meet existing fuel design criteria, and were then analyzed with regards to reactivity coefficients, delayed neutron fractions, control rod worths and shutdown margins. The results show that all three alternatives seem to be feasible, although some difficulties remain with complying with the thermal limits, and with the moderator temperature and coolant void coefficients of the U-233 containing fuel being positive under some circumstances.