Analysis and optimization of minor actinides transmutation blankets with regards to neutron and gamma sources
DEN/DER/SPRC/LEDC CEA Cadarache,
Saint Paul lez Durance, France
2 DEN/DER/SPRC/LEPh CEA Cadarache, 13108 Saint Paul lez Durance, France
⁎ e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 18 January 2017
Accepted: 25 January 2017
Published online: 10 March 2017
Heterogeneous loading of minor actinides in radial blankets is a potential solution to implement minor actinides transmutation in fast reactors. However, to compensate for the lower flux level experienced by the blankets, the fraction of minor actinides to be loaded in the blankets must be increased to maintain acceptable performances. This severely increases the decay heat and neutron source of the blanket assemblies, both before and after irradiation, by more than an order of magnitude in the case of neutron source for instance. We propose here to implement an optimization methodology of the blankets design with regards to various parameters such as the local spectrum or the mass to be loaded, with the objective of minimizing the final neutron source of the spent assembly while maximizing the transmutation performances of the blankets. In a first stage, an analysis of the various contributors to long- and short-term neutron and gamma source is carried out whereas in a second stage, relevant estimators are designed for use in the effective optimization process, which is done in the last step. A comparison with core calculations is finally done for completeness and validation purposes. It is found that the use of a moderated spectrum in the blankets can be beneficial in terms of final neutron and gamma source without impacting minor actinides transmutation performances compared to more energetic spectrum that could be achieved using metallic fuel for instance. It is also confirmed that, if possible, the use of hydrides as moderating material in the blankets is a promising option to limit the total minor actinides inventory in the fuel cycle. If not, it appears that focus should be put upon an increased residence time for the blankets rather than an increase in the acceptable neutron source for handling and reprocessing.
© T. Kooyman et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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