Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
2004 International RERTR Meeting
CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS OF THE FUEL MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR THE RA-3 RESEARCH REACTOR AT 10 MW
Ana María Lerner, Marcelo Madariaga, Ricardo Waldman
Nuclear Regulatory Authority
The Argentine Research Reactor RA-3 was designed to produce radioisotopes and it operates with LEU (U3O8) fuel since 1990. Its initial power was 5 MW and it has recently been upgraded to 10 MW. The National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) is both its owner and operator. At the beginning of this year, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority extended its operation license to an authorised power of 10 MW after a series of modifications and tests carried out by the installation during 2002 and 2003. As a consequence of this power increase, the installation introduced some non-systematic modifications in its fuel management strategy with the purpose of preserving the operation period in 20 days approximately. The main change was to load 2 fuel elements per cycle in some cycles (instead of 1 as it used to be at 5 MW). The purpose of this work is to perform a conceptual analysis of possible fuel management strategies for the RA-3 reactor, that could provide quantitative elements for a safety assessment, as well as to evaluate the fuel management flexibility at 10 MW in compliance with standards in force. It is concluded that operation at 10 MW with a 2 FE/cycle strategy leads to a significant excess reactivity at the beginning of cycle, but still in compliance with the margins established by the standards of application.
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Dr. Jordi Roglans-Ribas
Technical Director, RERTR Department
Nuclear Engineering Division – 362
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439
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