Heterogeneous effects in fast breeder reactors
Author(s)Gregory, Michael Vladimir; Driscoll, Michael J.; Lanning, David D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Engineering
United States. Department of Energy
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
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Heterogeneous effects in fast breeder reactors are examined through development of simple but accurate models for the calculation of a posteriori corrections to a volume-averaged homogeneous representation. Three distinct heterogeneous effects are considered: spatial coarse-group flux distribution within the unit cell, anisotropic diffusion, and resonance self-shielding. An escape/transmission probability theory is developed which yields region-averaged fluxes, used to flux-weight cross sections. Fluxes calculated by the model are in substantial agreement with S 8 discrete ordinate calculations. The method of Benoist, as applied to tight lattices, is adopted to generate anisotropic diffusion coefficients in pin geometry. The resulting perturbations from a volume-averaged homogeneous representation are interpreted in terms of reactivities calculated from first order perturbation theory and an equivalent "total differential of k" method.Resonance self-shielding is treated by the f-factor approach, based on correlations developed to give the self-shielding factors as functions of one-group constants. Various reference designs are analyzed for heterogeneous effects. For a demonstration LMFBR design, the whole-core sodium void reactivity change is calculated to be 90e less positive for the heterogeneous core representation compared to a homogeneous core, due primarily to the effects of anisotropic diffusion. Parametric studies show at least a doubling of this negative reactivity contribution is attainable for judicious choices of enrichment, lattice pitch and lattice geometry (particularly the open hexagonal lattice). The fuel dispersal accident is analyzed and a positive reactivity contribution due to heterogeneity is identified. The results of intra-rod U-238 activation measurements in the Blanket Test Facility are analyzed and compared to calculations.This activation depression is found to be of the order of 10% (surfaceto- average) for a typical LMFBR blanket rod and is ascribed to the effect of heterogeneous resonance self-shielding of U-238. Heterogeneous effects on the breeding ratio are studied with the conclusions that accounting for resonance self-shielding reduces the total breeding ratio by over 10%, but heterogeneous effects are not important for breeding ratio calculations.
"January, 1973."Also issued as a Ph. D. thesis written by the first author and supervised by the second and third author, MIT, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 1973Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-266)
Cambridge, Mass. : Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 
MITNE ; no. 142COO (Series) ; 2250-1AEC research and development report