Thermal-Hydraulic Analysis of Advanced Mixed-Oxide Fuel Assemblies with VIPRE-01
MetadataShow full item record
Two new fuel assembly designs for light water reactors using advanced mixed-oxide fuels have been proposed to reduce the radiotoxicity of used nuclear fuel discharged from nuclear power plants. The research efforts of this thesis are the first to consider the effects of burnup on advanced mixed-oxide fuel assembly performance and thermal safety margin over an assembly?s expected operational burnup lifetime. In order to accomplish this, a new burnup-dependent thermal-hydraulic analysis methodology has been developed. The new methodology models many of the effects of burnup on an assembly design by including burnup-dependent variations in fuel pin relative power from neutronic calculations, assembly power reductions due to fissile content depletion and core reshuffling, and fuel material thermal-physical properties. Additionally, a text-based coupling method is developed to facilitate the exchange of information between the neutronic code DRAGON and thermal-hydraulic code VIPRE-01. The new methodology effectively covers the entire assembly burnup lifetime and evaluates the thermal-hydraulic performance against ANS Condition I, II, and III events with respect to the minimum departure from nucleate boiling ratio, peak cladding temperatures, and fuel centerline temperatures. A comprehensive literature survey on the thermal conductivity of posed fuel materials with burnup-dependence has been carried out to model the advanced materials in the thermal-hydraulic code VIPRE-01. Where documented conductivity values are not available, a simplified method for estimating the thermal conductivity has been developed. The new thermal conductivity models are based on established FRAPCON-3 fuel property models used in the nuclear industry, with small adjustments having been made to account for actinide additions. Steady-state and transient thermal-hydraulic analyses are performed with VIPRE- 01 for a reference UO2 assembly design, and two advanced mixed-oxide fuel assembly designs using the new burnup-dependent thermal-hydraulic analysis methodology. All three designs maintain a sufficiently large thermal margin with respect to the minimum departure from nucleate boiling ratio, and maximum cladding and fuel temperatures during partial and complete loss-of-flow accident scenarios. The presence of a thin (Am,Zr)O2 outer layer on the fuel pellet in the two advanced mixed-oxide fuel assembly designs increases maximum fuel temperatures during transient conditions, but does not otherwise greatly compromise the thermal margin of the new designs.
Bingham, Adam R. (2009). Thermal-Hydraulic Analysis of Advanced Mixed-Oxide Fuel Assemblies with VIPRE-01. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from