Criticality Control Elements in a Subcritical System with an Extended Plasma Neutron Source taking into Account the Temperature
The authors of the article focus on the materials of criticality control elements in a subcritical system with an extended plasma neutron source. The system control elements include a burnable absorber, compensating rods, emergency protection and a maneuvering system.
The purpose of this work is to optimize the effective neutron multiplication factor to a value less than or equal to 0.95, taking into account the temperature rise in micro-fuel with a change in the nuclide composition and accumulation of gaseous compounds in accordance with the operating mode of the subcritical facility with an extended plasma neutron source.
The research was conducted using numerical models and multi-group methods based on the WIMS software package and evaluated nuclear data libraries (ROSFOND, BROND, BNAB, EXFOR and ENDSF).
Boron-containing materials were selected as materials for compensating rods and a burnable absorber, after analyzing the neutron flux density distribution spectrum and temperature rise by ~ 60 – 80°C in micro-fuel during the accumulation of fission products and gaseous compounds. As a burnable absorber, 100 μm thick ZrB2 sprayed onto all fuel cells was selected. B4C was chosen as the material for the compensating rods. One fuel block contains 12 compensating rods with a diameter of 0.87 cm and a protective casing made of stainless steel 10ХН45Ю. The layout of fuel blocks with compensating rods is presented. The calculation was carried out in the 69-group approximation using the equivalent Wigner-Seitz cell and the corresponding boundary conditions. The characteristics of emergency protection are selected and additional protection is provided in the event of a malfunction of the emergency protection rods and compensating rods, in the form of BF3, injected into the coolant. When choosing the materials and design of the compensating system, we took into account the concomitant effects of neutron absorption and temperature effects.
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