A safety and dynamics analysis of the subcritical advanced burner reactor: SABR
Sumner, Tyler Scott
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As the United States expands its quantity of nuclear reactors in the near future, the amount of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) will also increase. Closing the nuclear fuel cycle has become the next major technical challenge for the nuclear energy industry. By separating the transuranics (TRU) from the SNF discharged by Light Water Reactors, it is possible to fuel Advanced Burner Reactors to minimize the amount of SNF that must be stored in High Level Waste Repositories. One such ABR concept is the Subcritical Advanced Burner Reactor (SABR) being developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology. SABR is a subcritical, sodium-cooled fast reactor with a fusion neutron source capable of burning up to 25% of the TRU fuel over an 8.2 year residence time. In the SABR concept an annular core with a thickness of 0.6 m and an active height of 3.2 m surrounds the toroidal fusion neutron source. Neutron multiplication varies during the lifetime of the reactor from keff = 0.95 at the beginning of reactor life to 0.83 at the end of an equilibrium fuel cycle. Sixteen control rods worth 9$ are symmetrically positioned around the reactor. This thesis describes the dynamic safety analysis of the coupled neutron source, reactor core and reactor heat removal systems. A special purpose simulation model was written to predict steady-state conditions and accident scenarios in SABR by calculating the coupled evolution of the power output from the fusion and fission cores and the axial and radial temperature distributions of a fuel pin in the reactor. Reactivity Feedback was modeled for Doppler and sodium coolant voiding. SABR has a positive temperature reactivity feedback coefficient. A series of accident scenarios were simulated to determine how much time exists to implement corrective measures during an accident before damage to the reactor occurs.