Low-enrichment and long-life Scalable LIquid Metal cooled small Modular (SLIMM-1.2) reactor | Academic Article individual record

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The Scalable LIquid Metal cooled small Modular (SLIMM-1.0) reactor with uranium nitride fuel enrichment of 17.65% had been developed for generating 10–100 MWth continuously, without refueling for ∼66 and 5.9 full power years, respectively. Natural circulation of in-vessel liquid sodium (Na) cools the core of this fast energy spectrum reactor during nominal operation and after shutdown, with the aid of a tall chimney and an annular Na/Na heat exchanger (HEX) of concentric helically coiled tubes. The HEX at the top of the downcomer maximizes the static pressure head for natural circulation. In addition to the independent emergency shutdown (RSS) and reactor control (RC), the core negative temperature reactivity feedback safely decreases the reactor thermal power, following modest increases in the temperatures of UN fuel and in-vessel liquid sodium. The decay heat is removed from the core by natural circulation of in-vessel liquid sodium, with aid of the liquid metal heat pipes laid along the reactor vessel wall, and the passive backup cooling system (BCS) using natural circulation of ambient air along the outer surface of the guard vessel wall. This paper investigates modifying the SLIMM-1.0 reactor design to lower the UN fuel enrichment. To arrive at a final reactor design (SLIMM-1.2), the performed neutronics and reactivity depletion analyses examined the effects of various design and material choices on both the cold-clean and the hot-clean excess reactivity, the reactivity shutdown margin, the full power operation life at 100 MWth, the fissile production and depletion, the Beginning-Of-Life (BOL) spatial distributions of the fission power in the core at 100 MWth, and the negative temperature reactivity feedback effects. Besides decreasing the UN fuel enrichment, other parameters examined are the materials of the followers to the B4C rods for RSS and RC, the rods in the radial blanket assemblies, and the thickness of the scalloped BeO walls of the UN fuel and radial blanket assemblies. Despite ∼13% lower fuel enrichment (15.35%) and ∼22% lower hot-clean excess reactivity ($6.29 versus $8.06 for SLIMM-1.0 at 100 MWth), the operation life of the SLIMM-1.2 is ∼6.8% longer (6.3 versus 5.9 FPY for SLIMM-1.0), and the total negative temperature reactivity feedback is slightly smaller. At BOL, the radial blanket assemblies in ring 4, and the six UN fuel assembles in ring 1 of the SLIMM-1.2 core generate 2% and 23% of the total reactor thermal power, respectively. The twelve and eighteen UN fuel assemblies in rings 2 and 3 of the SLIMM-1.2 core generate 38% and 37% of the reactor thermal power, respectively. At EOL, the thermal power generation by the UN assemblies in rings 1 and 2 of the SLIMM-1.2 core decreases to 21.5% and 35.9%, respectively, while that by the assemblies in rings 3 and 4 increases to 37.6% and 5%, respectively.

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El-Genk, M. S., Palomino, L. M., & Schriener, T. M.
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Elsevier bv Publisher
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