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Design and construction of a prototype advanced on-line fuel burn-up monitoring system for the modular pebble bed reactor


Modular Pebble Bed Reactor (MPBR) is a high temperature gas-cooled nuclear power reactor currently under study as a next generation reactor system. In addition to its inherently safe design, a unique feature of this reactor is its multi-pass fuel circulation in which the fuel pebbles are randomly loaded and continuously cycled through the core until they reach their prescribed End-of-Life burn-up limit. Unlike the situation with a conventional light water reactor, depending solely on computational methods to perform in-core fuel management for MPBR will be highly inaccurate. An on-line measurement system is needed to accurately assess whether a given pebble has reached its End-of-Life burn-up limit and thereby provide an on-line, automated go/no-go decision on fuel disposition on a pebble-by-pebble basis. This project investigated approaches to analyzing fuel pebbles in real time using gamma spectroscopy and possibly using passive neutron counting of spontaneous fission neutrons to provide the speed, accuracy, and burn-up range required for burnup determination of MPBR. It involved all phases necessary to develop and construct a burn-up monitor, including a review of the design requirements of the system, identification of detection methodologies, modeling and development of potential designs, and finally, the construction and testing of an operational detector system. Based upon the research work performed in this project, the following conclusions are made. In terms of using gamma spectrometry, two possible approaches were identified for burnup assay. The first approach is based on the measurement of the absolute activity of Cs-137. However, due to spectral interference and the need for absolute calibration of the spectrometer, the uncertainty in burnup determination using this approach was found to range from {approx} {+-}40% at beginning of life to {approx} {+-}10% at the discharge burnup. An alternative approach is to use a relative burnup indicator. In this case, a self-calibration method was developed to obtain the spectrometer's relative efficiency curve based upon gamma lines emitted from {sup 140}La. It was found that the ratio of {sup 239}Np/{sup 132}I can be used in burnup measurement with an uncertainty of {approx} {+-}3% throughout the pebble's lifetime. In addition, by doping the fuel with {sup 60}Co, the use of the {sup 60}Co/{sup 134}Cs and {sup 239}Np/{sup 132}I ratios can simultaneously yield the enrichment and burnup of each pebble. A functional gamma-ray spectrometry measurement system was constructed and tested with light water reactor fuels. Experimental results were observed to be consistent with the predictions. On using the passive neutron counting method for the on-line burnup measurement, it was found that neutron emission rate of an irradiated pebble is sensitive to its burnup history and the spectral-averaged cross sections used in the depletion calculations; thus a large uncertainty exists in the correlation between neutron emission and burnup. At low burnup levels, the uncertainty in the neutron emission/burnup correlation is too high and neutron emission rate is too low so that it is impossible to determine a pebble's burnup by on-line neutron counting. At high burnup levels, due to the decreasing of the uncertainty in neutron emission rate and the super-linear feature of the correlation, the uncertainty in burnup determination was found to be {approx}7% at the discharge burnup, which is acceptable for determining whether a pebble should be discharged or not. In terms of neutron detection, because an irradiated pebble is a weak neutron source and a much stronger gamma source, neutron detector system should have high neutron detection efficiency and strong gamma discrimination capability. Of all the commonly used neutron detectors, the He-3 and BF3 detector systems were found to be able to satisfy the requirement on detection efficiency; but their gamma discrimination capability is only marginal for this on-line application. Even with thick gamma shielding, these two types of detectors shall deteriorate in performance after a certain period of time of operation. Thus, two or more detector systems must be used alternatively for continuous measurement.......

【关 键 词】: 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS, 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS, 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY
【期刊论文数据库】: [DBS_Articles_01]
【期刊论文编号】: 104,848,541
【摘要长度】: 4,260
【上篇论文】: 美国政府科技报告 - Interim report on fuel cycle neutronics code development.
【下篇论文】: 美国政府科技报告 - Evaluation of Salmon Spawning Below Bonneville Dam, 2005-2006 Annual Report.

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