An evaluation of the fast-mixed spectrum reactor
Author(s)Loh, Wee Tee; Driscoll, Michael J.; Lanning, David D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Engineering
Brookhaven National Laboratory. Engineering and Advanced Reactor Safety Division
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An independent evaluation of the neutronic characteristics of a gas-cooled fast-mixed spectrum reactor (FMSR) core design has been performed. A benchmark core configuration for an early FMSR design was provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory, the originators of the concept. The results of the evaluation were compared with those of BNL. Points of comparison included system reactivity and breeding ratio, and region-wise power densities and isotopic compositions as a function of burnup. The results are in sufficiently good agreement to conclude that the neutronic feasibility of the FMSR concept has been independently validated. Significant differences, primarily in higher plutonium isotope concentrations, occur only in regions of low neutronic importance, and plausible reasons for the differences are advanced based on sensitivity studies and comparison of spectral indices. While both M.I.T. and BNL calculations tend to predict that the benchmark design is slightly subcritical, at the beginning of equilibrium cycle, the margin to k = 1.0 is close enough (Ak < 0.03) that the situation can be remedied. Establishment of a consensus fission product cross section set was identified as an objective of merit, since non-negligible differences were found in results computed using various extant sets (BNL, LIB-IV, Japanese). Non-fission heating by gamma and neutron interactions was evaluated for the reference core design using a coupled neutron/gamma cross section set and SN calculations. In the unfueled regions of the core, moderator elements in particular, the non-fission heating rate was found to be significant (averaging about 6 kw/liter), but posed no obvious problems. In fueled regions the common assumption of local deposition of all energy at the point of fission was verified to be a good approximation for most engineering purposes.
"February 1980."Also issued as an M.S. thesis written by the first author and supervised by the second and third authors, MIT Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 1980Includes bibliographical references (pages 145-147)
Cambridge, Mass. : Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 
MITNE ; no. 232