An evaluation of tight-pitch PWR cores
Author(s)Correa, Francisco; Driscoll, Michael J.; Lanning, David D.
The impact of tight pitch cores on the consumption of natural uranium ore has been evaluated for two systems of coupled PWR's namely one particular type of thorium system-U-235/U02: Pu/Th02: U-233/ThO2--and the conventional recycle-mode uranium system- U-235/U02: Pu/UO . The basic parameter varied was the fuel-to-moderator volume ratio (F/M) o the (uniform) lattice for the last core in each sequence. Although methods and data verification in the range of present interest, 0.5 (current lattices)< F/M < 4.0 are limited by the scarcity of experiments with F/M > l.0,the EPRI-LEOPARD and LASER programs used for the thorium and uranium calculations, respectively, were successfully benchmarked against several of the more pertinent experiments. It was found that by increasing F/M to "3 the uranium ore usage for the uranium system can be decreased by as much as 60% compared to the same system with conventional recycle (at F/M 0.5). Equivalent savings for the thorium system of the type examined here are much smaller (10%) because of the poor performance of the intermediate Pu/ThO2 core--which is not substantially improved by increasing F/M. Although fuel cycle costs (calculated at the indifference value of bred fissile species) are rather insensitive to the characteristics of the tight pitch cores, system energy production costs do not favor the low discharge burnups which might other- wise allow even greater ore savings (80%). Temperature and void coefficients of reactivity for the tight pitch cores were calculated to be negative. Means for implementing tight lattice use were investigated, such as the use of stainless steel clad in place of zircaloy; and alternatives achieving the same objective were briefly examined, such as the use of D20/H20 mixtures as coolant. Major items identified requiring further work are system redesign to accommodate higher core pressure drop, and transient and accident thermal-hydraulics.
Originally presented as the author's thesis, Ph.D. in the M.I.T. Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 1979.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Nuclear fuel elements., Pressurized water reactors.
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