Thorium as an additive for improved neutronic properties in boiling water reactor fuel
Journal article, 2018
This article treats the replacement of burnable absorbers with a fertile absorber in boiling water reactor fuel. The target is to improve the fuel economy while meeting the same safety demands as the currently used conventional uranium oxide (UOX) fuel. A candidate fertile absorber is Th-232, and this work investigates the impact of replacing part of the U-238 in UOX fuel with Th-232. Computer simulations have been carried out and comparisons made for fuel assemblies with fertile and burnable absorbers, loaded in the boiling water reactor Oskarshamn 3, using the tools and methods that are normally employed for reload design and safety evaluation for this reactor. The results show that power balance and shutdown margins can be improved at the cost of higher enrichment needs. Alternatively, the fuel can be designed to just fulfil the relevant safety criteria, giving slightly lower uranium needs, which may compensate for the increased enrichment costs.
Boiling water reactor