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An Autonomous Reactivity Control system for improved fast reactor safety
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
University of California.
2014 (English)In: Progress in nuclear energy (New series), ISSN 0149-1970, Vol. 77, 32-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Autonomous Reactivity Control (ARC) system is a new safety device that can passively provide negative reactivity feedback in fast reactors that is sufficient to compensate for the positive coolant density reactivity feedback even in large low-leakage cores. The ARC system is actuated by the inherent physical property of thermal expansion, and has a very small effect on core neutronics at standard operating conditions. Additionally, the ARC system does not have an identified failure mode that can introduce positive reactivity in to the core. An ARC system can be installed in conventional fuel as- semblies by replacing a limited number of fuel rods with rods that fill a safety function, providing negative reactivity to the core in the event of coolant temperature rise above nominal. These rods are of the same outer dimensions as the fuel rods, but contain smaller-diameter inner rods that are connected to liquid-filled reservoirs at the top and bottom of the assemblies. The reservoirs are filled with two separate liquids that stay liquid and immiscible throughout the applicable temperature range of fast reactor operation. The lower reservoir contains a “neutron poison” liquid with a high neutron absorption cross-section. The upper reservoir is filled with a separate liquid with a small neutron absorption cross- section. As the temperature in the assembly increases, the liquids in the reservoirs thermally expand, effectively pushing the absorbing liquid up toward the active core region while compressing the inert gas that fills the volume above the liquid between the inner and outer tubes of the ARC rods. The ARC system can be installed, or retrofitted in to existing systems, in every fuel assembly in the core. Since ARC in- stallations in individual fuel assemblies operate independently, the system has a high level of redun- dancy. ARC-systems respond to local transients as well as core-wide accident scenarios. After actuation, the system automatically returns to its initial state as temperatures decrease, without the need for intervention by reactor operators. The ARC system concept and design considerations are described and illustrated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 77, 32-47 p.
National Category
Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-231348DOI: 10.1016/j.pnucene.2014.06.003ISI: 000344206700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-231348DiVA: diva2:744231
Available from: 2014-09-08 Created: 2014-09-08 Last updated: 2014-12-15Bibliographically approved

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