EPJ Web Conf.
Volume 247, 2021PHYSOR2020 – International Conference on Physics of Reactors: Transition to a Scalable Nuclear Future
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Nuclear Criticality Safety|
|Published online||22 February 2021|
CRITICALITY SAFETY ANALYSIS OF GBC-32 SPENT FUEL CASK WITH IMPROVED NEUTRON ABSORBER CONCEPT
1 University of West Bohemia, Univerzitni 8, 30614 Plzen, Czech Republic
2 Czech Technical University, Zikova 1903, 16636 Prague, Czech Republic
Published online: 22 February 2021
Higher enrichment of nuclear fuel along the manufacturing limit of boron content in steel and aluminum alloys represents a significant challenge in designing spent fuel transport and storage facilities. One possible solution for spent fuel pools and casks is the burnup credit method that allows for decreasing very high safety margins associated with fresh fuel assumption in spent fuel facilities. An alternative solution based on placing neutron absorber material directly into the fuel assembly is proposed here. A neutron absorber permanently fixed in guide tubes decreases system reactivity more efficiently than absorber sheets between the assemblies. The efficiency of the newly proposed concept is demonstrated on the criticality safety analysis of the GBC-32 spent fuel cask. Absorber rods from 8 different elements are placed within Westinghouse OFA 17x17 guide tubes. Currently used boron is a good option because of high absorption cross section, low atomic mass and chemical compatibility with various alloys. Alternative options (e.g., Sm, Eu, Gd, Dy, Hf, Re, Ir) are based on very good absorbers that do not require alloy compatibility since the absorbers can be placed inside zirconium or steel cladding. Because of high efficiency of the newly proposed absorber concept, boron content in BORAL sheets can be decreased to more competitive economics. Moreover, fuel assembly pitch is investigated in order to change cask wall inner diameter that will result in lower material consumption for the cask wall with the same shielding thickness.
Key words: criticality safety / burnup credit / neutron absorber
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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