This paper presents the conceptual designs of a new burnable absorber (BA) for the pressurized water reactor (PWR), which is named ‘Burnable absorber-integrated Guide Thimble’ (BigT). The BigT integrates BA materials into standard guide thimble in a PWR fuel assembly. Neutronic sensitivities and practical design considerations of the BigT concept are points of highlight in the first half of the paper. Specifically, the BigT concepts are characterized in view of its BA material and spatial self-shielding variations. In addition, the BigT replaceability requirement, bottom-end design specifications and thermal–hydraulic considerations are also deliberated. Meanwhile, much of the second half of the paper is devoted to demonstrate practical viability of the BigT absorbers via comparative evaluations against the conventional BA technologies in representative 17×17 and 16×16 fuel assembly lattices. For the 17×17 lattice evaluations, all three BigT variants are benchmarked against Westinghouse's existing BA technologies, while in the 16×16 assembly analyses, the BigT designs are compared against traditional integral gadolinia-urania rod design. All analyses clearly show that the BigT absorbers perform as well as the commercial BA technologies in terms of reactivity and power peaking management. In addition, it has been shown that sufficiently high control rod worth can be obtained with the BigT absorbers in place. All neutronic simulations were completed using the Monte Carlo Serpent code with ENDF/B-VII.0 library.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering