"Engineering analysis of low enriched uranium fuel using improved zirconium hydride cross sections,"
M.S. Thesis, Texas A&M University, August 2006.
A neutronic and thermal hydraulic analysis of the 1-MW TRIGA
research reactor at the Texas A&M University Nuclear Science
Center using a new low enriched uranium fuel (named 30/20 fuel) was
completed. This analysis provides safety assessment for the change
out of the existing high enriched uranium fuel to this high-burnup,
low enriched uranium fuel design. The codes MCNP and Monteburns
were utilized for the neutronic analysis while the code PARET was
used to determine fuel and cladding temperatures. All of these
simulations used improved zirconium hydride cross sections that
were provided by Dr. Ayman Hawari at North Carolina State
University. The neutronic and thermal analysis showed that the
reactor will operate with approximately the same fuel lifetime as
the current high enriched uranium fuel and stay within the thermal
and safety limits for the facility. It was also determined that the
control rod worths and the temperature coefficient of reactivity
would provide sufficient negative reactivity to control the reactor
during the fuel's complete lifetime.
An assessment of the fuel's viability for use with the Advanced
Fuel Cycle Initiative's Reactor Accelerator Coupling Experiments
program was also performed. The objective of this study was to
confirm the continued viability of these experiments with the
reactor operating using this new fuel. For these experiments, the
accelerator driven system must produce fission heating in excess of
1 kW when driven by a 20 kW accelerator system. This criterion was
met using the new fuel. Therefore the change out of the fuel will
not affect the viability of these experiments.