Small power lead fast reactor for purposes of education
At several higher schools oriented to nuclear power engineering small power nuclear reactors for training and education, for example the reactor IRT at the National Research Nuclear University «MEPhI» in Moscow, project of the reactor ELECTRA at the Kungliga Tekniska Hogscolan in Stockholm, are used or proposed.
In this paper a reactor on fast neutrons for researching, teaching students and postgraduate students for skillful of controlling innovative lead fast reactor (LFR), training specialists for nuclear scientific centers and nuclear power plants is proposed.
The appearance and main characteristics of the LFR cooled with liquid lead and fueled with the dioxide of uranium, UO2, well industrially developed and contained the fissile uranium isotope 235U with 19.7% enrichment, are given. Hard neutron spectrum which can be achieved in the LFR with a smallsized core and a coolant from natural lead, and in perspective from lead enriched with its low neutron moderating stable isotope 208Pb, will allow solving several research tasks in the case of neutron flow densities of order of 1013 neutron/cm2·s. For safe reactor controlling, its relatively small thermal power equal to 0.5 MW is considered. The possibility of the reactor runaway on prompt neutrons is excluded due to the small stock of reactivity which is less than the effective share of delayed neutrons of the fissile fuel, βeff .The fuel burning at the nominal power, 0.5 MW, will be around 140 grams of 235U per one year (280 effective days). In operating at this small power, the reactivity damping will be equal to 36 pcm per one year. It allows expanding the reactor exploitation company up to 20 effective years under the conditions when the stock of reactivity is less than the share of delayed neutrons, βeff, which is equal to 720 pcm for the fuel from UO2.
The study is based on the experience obtained at the Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering, National Research Nuclear University «MEPhI» in developing small power reactors and on the experience obtained at the Institute for Physics and Power Engineering named after A.I. Lejpunskij in developing fast reactors with heavy liquid metal coolants.
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