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Optimization of reactivity control in a small modular sodium-cooled fast reactor

Abstract : The small modular sodium-cooled fast reactor (SMSFR) is an important component of Generation-IV reactors. The objective of this work is to improve the reactivity control in SMSFR by using innovative systems, including burnable poisons and optimized control rods. SMSFR with MOX fuel usually exhibits high burnup reactivity loss that leads to high excess reactivity and potential fuel melting in control rod withdrawal (CRW) accidents, which becomes an important constraint on the safety and economic efficiency of SMSFR. This work applies two types of burnable poisons in a SMSFR to reduce the excess reactivity. The first one homogenously loads minor actinides in the fuel. The second one combines absorber and moderators in specific assemblies. The influence of burnable poisons on the core characteristics is discussed and integrated into the analysis of CRW accidents. The results show that burnable poisons improve the safety performance of the core in a significant way. Burnable poisons also lessen the demand for the number, absorption ability, and insertion depth of control rods. Two optimized control rod designs with rare earth oxides (Eu2O3 and Gd2O3) and moderators are compared to the conventional design with natural boron carbide (B4C). The optimized designs show improved neutronic and safety performance. Available via license: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 11:03:10 AM
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H. Guo, L. Buiron, P. Sciora, T. Kooyman. Optimization of reactivity control in a small modular sodium-cooled fast reactor. Nuclear Engineering and Technology, Elsevier, 2019, ⟨10.1016/⟩. ⟨cea-02529236⟩



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