Optimization of the Canadian SCWR Core Using Coupled Three-Dimensional Reactor Physics and Thermal-Hydraulics Calculations Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The Canadian supercritical water-cooled reactor (SCWR) design is part of Canada's Generation IV reactor development program. The reactor uses batch fueling, light water above the thermodynamic critical point as a coolant and a heavy water moderator. The design has evolved considerably and is currently at the conceptual design level. As a result of batch fueling, a certain amount of excess reactivity is loaded at the beginning of each fueling cycle. This excess reactivity must be controlled using a combination of burnable neutron poisons in the fuel, moderator poisons, and control blades interspersed in the heavy water moderator. Recent studies have shown that the combination of power density, high coolant temperatures, and reactivity management can lead to high maximum cladding surface temperatures (MCST) and maximum fuel centerline temperatures (MFCLT) in this design. This study focuses on improving both the MCST and the MFCLT through modifications of the conceptual design including changes from a 3 to 4 batch fueling cycle, a slightly shortened fuel cycle (although exit burnup remains the same), axial graded fuel enrichment, fuel-integrated burnable neutron absorbers, lower reactivity control blades, and lower reactor thermal powers as compared to the original conceptual design. The optimal blade positions throughout the fuel cycle were determined so as to minimize the MCST and MFCLT using a genetic algorithm and the reactor physics code PARCS. The final design was analyzed using a fully coupled PARCS-RELAP5/SCDAPSIM/MOD4.0 model to accurately predict the MCST as a function of time during a fueling cycle.

publication date

  • April 1, 2018