Detecting neutron spectrum perturbations due to coolant density changes in a small lead-cooled fast nuclear reactor
2013 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 58, 102-109 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) is one of the nuclear reactor technologies proposed by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). The lead coolant allows for inherent safety properties attractive from a nuclear safety point of view, but issues related to corrosion of structural materials and the possible positive coolant reactivity coefficient must be addressed before LFRs can be commercially viable. As an example, a small crack in e.g. a heat exchanger can generate a more or less homogeneous distribution of bubbles in the coolant (void) which if unnoticed, has the potential to cause criticality issues. This fact motivated an investigation of a methodology to detect such voids.
The suggested methodology is based on measurements of the “slow” and “fast” parts of the neutron spectrum because these parts respond in different ways to voiding. For detection, it is tentatively assumed that fission chambers loaded with U-235 and Pu-239, respectively, are deployed. To investigate the methodology according to sensitivity and precision, a number of scenarios have been simulated and analysed using the core simulator Serpent.
The results show that the methodology yields a sensitivity of 3% for each per cent unit of void. Assuming typical detection limits of a few per cent this implies the possibility to detect voids down to the order of 1%. From these studies it was also concluded that the positioning of the detectors relative the reactor core is crucial, which may be useful input during the design phase of a reactor in order to achieve an efficient monitoring system.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 58, 102-109 p.
LFR, Monitoring, Fission chamber, Void, Heat exchanger, Neutron spectrum
Research subject Applied Nuclear Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198748DOI: 10.1016/j.anucene.2013.03.029ISI: 000320481600016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-198748DiVA: diva2:617667