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Proposal of new core configurations for the IPEN/CNEN-SP IEA-R1 research reactor with high density uranium fuels

Grant number: 11/17090-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2011
Effective date (End): October 19, 2016
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Nuclear Engineering - Reactor Technologies
Principal researcher:Antonio Teixeira e Silva
Grantee:Thiago Garcia João
Home Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN). Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Econômico (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):13/06656-5 - Inherently safe and accident tolerant light water reactor, BE.EP.DD


The work aims to propose new configurations for the IEA-R1 reactor core of IPEN/CNEN-SP using U3Si2-Al fuel elements with a uranium density of 4.8 gU/cm3 (42.5% in volume of the U3Si2 phase), maximum density qualified for this type of fuel in the world. The increased uranium density in the reactor fuel will allow configurations with fewer fuel elements in relation to the current one (5x5), providing better neutron fluxes, the reduction of the reactor core volume, better fuel utilization, the increasing of radioisotopes production for medical purpose in the future and smaller irradiation times for qualification of nuclear reactors materials. To evaluate the new configurations, neutronic, thermal hydraulic and safety analysis calculations will be performed using a set of qualified computer programs, which will evaluate different configurations of the reactor core with high density fuels, establishing the new power density profile, the thermal hydraulic and safety margins and the response of the new configurations to a set of postulated accidents, for example, Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA). The results should attest the safety of the reactor core configurations and provide the data needed for the modification the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) files. (AU)

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