Use of REMIX Spent Mixed Fuel Plutonium in the BN-1200 Reactor
The VVER-1000 thermal neutron reactor can operate on mixed uranium-plutonium fuel with a content of reactor-grade plutonium up to 5% with a 100% loaded core. In this case, plutonium burns up to 56% of odd isotopes. The energy potential of such plutonium is very low, and its further use in thermal reactors is impractical. However, such plutonium can be used in fast neutron reactors. The paper presents the results of investigating the possibility for such isotopic plutonium composition to be used in the BN-1200 thermal neutron reactor and its value be increased for the plutonium return into the reactor. For this purpose, a precision model of the BN-1200 reactor has been developed using the Serpent Monte Carlo code. The model has been verified against the reference values of the nuclear fuel burnup and breeding ratios. The study has shown that such plutonium can be used in the BN-1200 reactor MOX fuel. Maintaining the operating cycle length requires the plutonium fraction in the MOX fuel to be increased up to 2%. In the BN-1200 reactor, the isotopic composition has been found to improve for the further return of plutonium into the thermal reactor, i.e. odd plutonium isotopes increase. The fewer odd plutonium isotopes at the beginning of the BN1200 operating cycle, the greater their increase. It can be seen as the result of the calculation that plutonium from VVER-1000 spent mixed fuel must be loaded into the BN-1200 reactor at least twice to increase the fraction of odd isotopes to the level of reactor-grade plutonium.
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Link for citing the article: Kovalev N.V., Prokoshin A.M., Kudinov A.S., Nevinitsa V.A. Use of REMIX Spent Mixed Fuel Plutonium in the BN-1200 Reactor. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2023, no. 1, pp. 70-81; DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2023.1.06 (in Russian).