Design optimization and analysis of a fluoride salt cooled high temperature test reactor for accelerated fuels and materials testing and nonproliferation and safeguards evaluations
Author(s)Richard, Joshua (Joshua Glenn)
FHR for accelerated fuels and materials testing and nonproliferation and safeguards evaluations
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
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Fluoride Salt Cooled High Temperature Reactors (FHRs) are a new reactor concept that have recently garnered interest because of their potential to serve missions and generate revenue from sources beyond those of traditional base-load light water reactor (LWR) designs. This potential is facilitated by high-temperature, atmospheric-pressure operation enabled by the incorporation of liquid fluoride salt coolants together with solid microparticle TRISO fuel. Since no FHR has been built, an important technology development step is the design, construction, and operation of a FHR test reactor (FHTR). The FHTR's strategic goals cannot be satisfied using small-scale experiments or test loops: (1) develop the safety and licensing basis for a commercial plant; (2) demonstrate technological viability and provide operational and maintenance experience; and (3) test alternative fuels, fluoride salt coolants, and structures in an actual reactor configuration. The goals of the FHTR support the development of the commercial FHR, but are different. The programmatic goals for the FHTR drive the specification of the technical design goals: (1) capability to switch between any one of various potential liquid fluoride salt coolants; (2) provide an irradiation facility for accelerated fuels and materials testing. The first stage of the present work included an exploration and characterization of the available design space for an FHTR. Many different core, reflector, and assembly designs were evaluated to determine configurations that possessed acceptable performance while satisfying all design constraints. This work resulted in a novel prismatic block assembly design termed Fuel Inside Radial Moderator (FIRM), which leverages spatial selfshielding of the fuel microparticles to increase core reactivity by ~10,000 pcm relative to a traditional prismatic block design, enabling operation with any of the proposed liquid fluoride salt coolants. This stage of work served to focus the search space for the application of formal optimization algorithms to further improve the feasible design. The second stage of the present work involved the development of a methodology to perform full-core optimization of the feasible FHTR design and its implementation into usable software. The OpenFRO (Open source Framework for Reactor Optimization) code implements the Efficient Global Optimization (EGO) surrogate-based optimization framework, which has been successfully applied to aerospace and automotive engineering optimization problems in the past. OpenFRO extends the EGO framework to full-core reactor optimization in the presence of uncertainty, enabling an effective, automated, and efficient approach for earlystage reactor design. OpenFRO's EGO implementation imposes minimal computational overhead while reducing the number of required high-fidelity simulations for optimization by 96%. The final stage of the present work involved the identification and analysis of the optimal design of the FHTR. The optimal design was selected based on its capability to provide the best performance across potential salt coolants and power levels. The optimal design achieved irradiation position fluxes 90%-130% greater than the feasible design initially identified, while satisfying all safety and performance constraints.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2016.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 212-221).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.