Thermal-Hydraulic Analysis of Seed-Blanket Unit Duplex Fuel Assemblies with VIPRE-01
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One of the greatest challenges facing the nuclear power industry is the final disposition of nuclear waste. To meet the needs of the nuclear power industry, a new fuel assembly design, called DUPLEX, has been developed which provides higher fuel burnups, burns transuranic waste while reducing minor actinides, reduces the long term radiotoxicity of spent nuclear fuel, and was developed for use in current light water reactors. The DUPLEX design considered in this thesis is based on a seed and blanket unit (SBU) configuration, where the seed region contains standard UO2 fuel, and the blanket region contains an inert matrix (Pu,Np,Am)O2-MgO-ZrO2 fuel. The research efforts of this thesis are first to consider the higher burnup effects on DUPLEX assembly thermal-hydraulic performance and thermal safety margin over the assembly’s expected operational lifetime. In order to accomplish this, an existing burnup-dependent thermal-hydraulic methodology for conventional homogeneous fuel assemblies has been updated to meet the modeling needs specific to SBU-type assemblies. The developed framework dramatically expands the capabilities of the latest thermal-hydraulic evaluation framework such that the most promising and unique DUPLEX fuel design can be evaluated. As part of this updated methodology, the posed DUPLEX design is evaluated with respect to the minimum departure from nucleate boiling ratio, peak fuel temperatures for both regions, and the peak cladding temperatures, under ANS Condition I, II, and III transient events with the thermal-hydraulic code VIPRE-01. Due to difficulty in the fabrication and handling of minor actinide dioxides, documented thermal conductivity values for the considered IMF design are unavailable. In order to develop a representative thermal conductivity model for use in VIPRE-01, an extensive literature survey on the thermal conductivity of (Pu,Np,Am)O2-MgO-ZrO2 component materials and a comprehensive review of combinatory models was performed. Using the updated methodology, VIPRE-01 is used to perform steady-state and transient thermal hydraulic analyses for the DUPLEX fuel assembly. During loss-of-flow accident scenarios, the DUPLEX design is shown to meet imposed safety criteria. However, using the most conservative thermal conductivity modeling approach for (Pu,Np,Am)O2-MgO-ZrO2, the blanket region fuel temperatures remain only slightly below the design limit.
SubjectHeterogeneous Fuel Assembly
McDermott, Patrick 1987- (2012). Thermal-Hydraulic Analysis of Seed-Blanket Unit Duplex Fuel Assemblies with VIPRE-01. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from