Flexblue® core design: optimisation of fuel poisoning for a soluble boron free core with full or half core refuelling
DCNS, France, 143 bis, avenue de Verdun, 92442 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
* Present address: IRSN, 31, avenue Division Leclerc, 92260 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France
** e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 10 September 2015
Accepted: 6 October 2015
Published online: 9 December 2015
Flexblue® is a 160 MWe, transportable and subsea-based nuclear power unit, operating up to 100 m depth, several kilometers away from the shore. If being underwater has significant safety advantages, especially using passive safety systems, it leads to two main challenges for core design. The first one is to control reactivity in operation without soluble boron because of its prohibitive drawbacks for a submerged reactor (system size, maintenance, effluents, and safety considerations). The second one is to achieve a long cycle in order to maximise the availability of the reactor, because Flexblue® refuelling and maintenance will be performed in a shared support facility away from the production site. In this paper, these two topics are dealt with, from a neutronic point of view. Firstly, an overview of the main challenges of operating without soluble boron is proposed (cold shutdown, reactivity swing during cycle, load following, xenon stability). Secondly, an economic optimisation of the Flexblue® core size and cycle length is performed, using the QUABOX/CUBBOX code. Thirdly, the fuel enrichment and poisoning using gadolinium oxide are optimized for full core or half core refuelling, with the DRAGON code. For the specific case of the full core refuelling, an innovative heterogeneous configuration of gadolinium is used. This specific configuration is computed using a properly adapted state-of-the-art calculation scheme within the above-mentioned lattice code. The results in this specific configuration allow a reactivity curve very close to the core leakage one during the whole cycle.
© J.-J. Ingremeau and M. Cordiez, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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