Development of a core design optimization tool and analysis in support of the planned LEU conversion of the MIT Research Reactor (MITR-II)
Author(s)Connaway, Heather M. (Heather Moira)
Development of a core design optimization tool and analysis in support of the planned low enriched uranium conversion of the MIT Research Reactor (MITR-II)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
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The MIT Research Reactor (MITR-II) is currently undergoing analysis for the planned conversion from high enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU), as part of a global effort to minimize the availability of weapons-grade uranium. In support of efficient fuel management analysis with the new LEU fuel, a core design optimization tool has been developed. Using a coarse model, the tool can quickly consider the large range of refueling options available, and identify a solution which minimizes power peaking with the least fuel shuffling possible. The selected scheme can then be examined in greater detail with a more robust simulation tool. The unique geometry of the MITR core makes it difficult to develop a model that both runs very quickly and provides detailed power distribution information. Therefore, a correlation-based approach has been employed. Relationships between burnup, critical control blade position, core Um mass, and power distribution are used to predict fuel element U²³⁵ depletion, critical control blade motion, and power peaking. The tool applies the correlations to identify an optimal loading pattern, defined as the core which has the lowest maximum radial peaking factor in the set of valid solutions with the minimum number of fuel shuffling actions. The correlations that are utilized by the optimization tool were developed using data from simulations with MCODE-FM, a fuel management wrapper for the MCNP-ORIGEN linkage code MCODE. The correlations have been verified with results from additional MCODE-FM runs, and the code logic has been verified with the core loading solutions for a variety of input parameters. The verification found that the code is able to predict radial peaking, core mass, and general control blade motion with sufficient accuracy to develop a good refueling scheme. The tool provides the output solution in an interactive format, which allows the user to quickly examine small perturbations on the identified loading pattern. In addition to the optimization tool development, loading patterns for the mixed HEU-LEU fuel transition cores have been evaluated. This analysis identified general behavioral trends of the mixed-fuel cores, which serve as an initial basis for future transition core analysis.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 100-101).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.