Argonne National Laboratory
Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear Science and Engineering Division at Argonne
U.S. Department of Energy

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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
1997 International RERTR Meeting

Fluxes at Experiment Facilities in HEU and LEU Designs for the FRM-II

N. A. Hanan and J. E. Matos
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 S. Cass Avenue
Argonne, Illinois 60439-4841 USA


An 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.

Several issues that were raised by TUM have been addressed in Refs. 1-3. The conclusions of these analyses are summarized below. This paper addresses four additional issues that have been raised in several forums, including Ref. 4: heat generation in the cold neutron source (CNS), the gamma and fast neutron fluxes which are components of the reactor noise in neutron scattering experiments in the experiment hall of the reactor, a fuel cycle length difference, and the reactivity worth of the beam tubes and other experiment facilities. The results show that: (a) for the same thermal neutron flux, the neutron and gamma heating in the CNS is smaller in the LEU design than in the HEU design, and cold neutron fluxes as good or better than those of the HEU design can be obtained with the LEU design; (b) the gamma and fast neutron components of the reactor noise in the experiment hall are about the same in both designs; (c) the fuel cycle length is 50 days for both designs; and (d) the absolute value of the reactivity worth of the beam tubes and other experiment facilities is smaller in the LEU design, allowing its fuel cycle length to be increased to 53 or 54 days.

Based on the excellent results for the Alternative LEU Design that were obtained in all analyses, the RERTR Program reiterates its conclusion that there are no major technical issues regarding use of LEU fuel instead of HEU fuel in the FRM-II and that it is definitely feasible to use LEU fuel in the FRM-II without compromising the safety or performance of the facility.

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Dr. Nelson Hanan
Nuclear Engineer
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439 USA

Phone: (630) 252-6627
Fax:     (630) 252-5161

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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:33 +0200