CANDU reactors with reactor grade plutonium/thorium carbide fuel


Sahin S., Khan M. J. , Ahmed R.

KERNTECHNIK, vol.76, no.4, pp.268-272, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 76 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.3139/124.110160
  • Title of Journal : KERNTECHNIK
  • Page Numbers: pp.268-272

Abstract

Reactor grade (RG) plutonium, accumulated as nuclear waste of commercial reactors can be re-utilized in CANDU reactors. TRISO type fuel can withstand very high fuel burn ups. On the other hand, carbide fuel would have higher neutronic and thermal performance than oxide fuel. In the present work, RG-PuC/ThC TRISO fuels particles are imbedded body-centered cubic (BCC) in a graphite matrix with a volume fraction of 60%. The fuel compacts conform to the dimensions of sintered CANDU fuel compacts are inserted in 37 zircolay rods to build the fuel zone of a bundle. Investigations have been conducted on a conventional CANDU reactor based on GENTILLYII design with 380 fuel bundles in the core. Three mixed fuel composition have been selected for numerical calculation; (1) 10% RG-PuC + 90% ThC; (2) 30% RG-PuC + 70% ThC; (3) 50% RG-PuC + 50% ThC. Initial reactor criticality values for the modes (I), (2) and (3) are calculated as k(infinity,0) = 1.4848, 1.5756 and 1.627, respectively. Corresponding operation lifetimes are similar to 2.7, 8.4, and 15 years and with burn ups of similar to 72000, 222 000 and 366 000 MW.d/tonne, respectively Higher initial plutonium charge leads to higher burn ups and longer operation periods. In the course of reactor operation, most of the plutonium will be incinerated. At the end of life, remnants of plutonium isotopes would survive; and few amounts of uranium, americium and curium isotopes would be produced.