Reactivity control options of space nuclear reactors | Academic Article individual record

This paper compares two ex-core control options of the gas-cooled Submersion Subcritical Safe Space (S^4) reactor with a fast neutrons energy spectrum: (a) rotating BeO drums with 120° thin segments of enriched B4C in the BeO radial reflector; and (b) sliding segments in the BeO radial reflector. Investigated are the effects on the beginning-of-life (BOL) excess reactivity, reactivity depletion rate and operation life, and the spatial neutron flux distributions and fission power profiles in the core. Also investigated is the effect of reducing the thickness of the enriched B4C segments in the control drums on the BOL excess reactivity, when one or two of the 6 drums are stuck in the shutdown position. Reducing the thickness of the B4C segments from 0.5 mm to 0.238 mm, with one drums stuck in the shutdown position, increases BOL cold and hot-clean excess reactivity from +$1.71 and +$0.47 to +$2.38 and +$0.89, respectively. These reactivity values are almost identical to those of the reactor with one of the six reflector segments stuck open in the shutdown position. Results also showed that the control options made little difference in the reactor performance. The power peaking in the reactor core with sliding reflector segments is slightly lower and the spatial power profiles are relatively flatter. The operation life of the reactor with a sliding reflector segments control, when operating at a nominal thermal power of 471 kW, is only 22 full power days longer than with rotating drums control. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Schriener, T. M., & El-Genk, M. S.
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Elsevier BV Publisher
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