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Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear Science and Engineering Division at Argonne
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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
1996 International RERTR Meeting


N.A. Hanan, S.C. Mo, R.S. Smith, and J.E. Matos

Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, Illinois 60439-4841 USA


The Alternative LEU Design for the FRM-II proposed by the RERTR Program at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has a compact core consisting of a single fuel element that uses LEU silicide fuel with a uranium density of 4.5 g/cm3 and has a power level of 32 MW. Both the HEU design by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the alternative LEU design by ANL have the same fuel lifetime (50 days) and the same neutron flux performance (8 x 1014 n/cm2/s in the reflector). LEU silicide fuel with 4.5 g/cm3 has been thoroughly tested and is fully-qualified, licensable, and available now for use in a high flux reactor such as the FRM-II.

The following issues raised by TUM were addressed in Ref. 1: qualification of HEU and LEU silicide fuels, gamma heating in the heavy water reflector, radiological consequences of larger fission product and plutonium inventories in the LEU core, and cost and schedule. The conclusions of these analyses are summarized below. This paper addresses three additional safety issues that were raised by TUM in Ref. 2: stability of the involute fuel plates, a hypothetical accident involving the configuration of the reflector, and a loss of primary coolant flow transient due to an interrupted power supply. Calculations were also done to address the possibility that new high density fuels could be developed that would allow conversion of the TUM HEU design to LEU fuel.

Based on the excellent results for the Alternative LEU Design that were obtained in these analyses, the RERTR Program concludes that all of the major technical issues regarding use of LEU fuel instead of HEU fuel in the FRM-II have been successfully resolved and that it is definitely feasible to use LEU fuel in the FRM-II without compromising the safety or performance of the facility. In this regard, the RERTR Program would like to reiterate its strong support for construction of the FRM-II reactor using LEU silicide fuel and its readiness to exchange information with the TUM to resolve any technical issues that may still exist.

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Dr. James E. Matos
Senior Physicist
Argonne National Laboratory
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Argonne, IL 60439-4841 USA
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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:34 +0200