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Low Void Effect (CFV) Core Concept Flexibility from Self-breeder to Burner Core

Abstract : In the frame of the French strategy on sustainable nuclear energy, several scenarios consider fuel cycle transition toward a plutonium multirecycling strategy in Sodium cooled Fast Reactor (SFR). Basically, most of these scenarios consider the deployment of a 60 GWe SFR fleet in two steps to renew the French PWR fleet. As scenarios do investigate long term deployment configurations, some of them require tools for nuclear phase-out studies. Instead of designing new reactors, the adopted strategy does focus on adaptation of existing ones into burner configurations. This is what was done in the frame of the EFR project at the end of the 90's using the CAPRA approach (French acronym for Enhance Plutonium Consumption in Fast Reactor). The EFR burner configuration was obtained by inserting neutronic penalties inside the core (absorber material and/or diluent subassembly). Starting from the preliminary industrial image of a SFR 3600MWth core based on Low Sodium Void concept (CFV in French), a CAPRA-like approach has been studied. As the CFV self-breeding is ensured by fertile blankets, a first modification consisted in the substitution of the corresponding depleted uranium by inert or absorber material leading to a natural burner core with only small impact on flux distribution. The next step toward CAPRA configuration was the substitution of 1/3 of the fuel pins by dummy pins (MgO pellets). The small spectrum shift due to MgO material insertion leads to an increase Doppler constant which exceeds the value of the reference case. As the core sodium void worth value is conserved, the CFV CAPRA core safety potential is quite similar to the one of the reference core.Fuel thermo-mechanical requirements are met by both nominal core power and fuel time residence reduction. However, these reduction factors are lower than those obtained for EFR core. The management of the enhanced reactivity swing is discussed.
Keywords : CFV CAPRA Phase-out
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L. Dujcikova, L. Buiron. Low Void Effect (CFV) Core Concept Flexibility from Self-breeder to Burner Core. ICAPP - 2015 - International Congress on Advances Nuclear Power Plants, May 2015, Nice, France. ⟨cea-02489483⟩

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