INFLUENCE OF FUEL FLOW RATE VARIATION ON MOLTEN SALT REACTOR PERFORMANCE
The University of Manchester School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, F floor, G1, Pariser Building, The University of Manchester, Sackville Street, Manchester, M13 9PL
Published online: 22 February 2021
Molten Salt Reactors are Gen-IV reactors that use liquid fuel. Fluid fuel allows continuous removal of fission gases as well as batch fuel reprocessing. With these control mechanisms the system can be sustained within the desired operating temperature range and required power output. These methods rely on the presence of a chemical processing plant on-site that adds complexity. This also creates a risk of processing plant unavailability due to faults, emergency downtime or maintenance. The work considers variation of fuel salt flow rate in Molten Salt Reactors as a means of controlling reactor operation without using reprocessing. The analysis is performed using the Molten Salt Fast Reactor as an example. An extended version of the SERPENT Monte-Carlo transport code coupled with OpenFOAM generic platform were used for capturing delayed neutron drift, decay heat, gaseous fission product removal, calculating fuel salt velocity vectors and the fuel temperature distribution. The two models were coupled via a script that accounted for reactivity insertion between time steps and the changes caused in the fission power. Results confirm that, while operating at constant power, the difference between fuel inlet and outlet temperatures increase as the flow rate decreases. Burnup analysis has shown that while the average fuel temperature continues to reduce with time, the difference between inlet and outlet temperatures can be controlled by varying the flow rate while maintaining constant power. Finally, the variation in the fuel flow rate has been shown to extend the reactor operating time with no insertion of additional fissile inventory.
Key words: Molten Salt Reactor / Molten Salt Fast Reactor / Control / Monte-Carlo / thermal-hydraulics
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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