Breeding of plutonium with light water cooling has been studied for many years, but high breeding to meet growing demand for electricity in a developed country has not been accomplished. The purpose of this study is to investigate a high breeding core of Super FBR (supercritical pressure light water cooled fast breeder reactor) with new fuel assemblies consisting of tightly packed fuel rods without gaps, which leads to low coolant to fuel volume fraction. The plant system of a Super FBR is once-through coolant cycle with high head pumps. The coolant flow rate is low due to the high enthalpy rise in the core. It is compatible with the high pressure drop of the new fuel assemblies. Both neutronic and thermal hydraulic design of the core is considered. The challenge of high breeding with light water cooling is to satisfy negative coolant void reactivity, high breeding and low enrichment simultaneously. The core with new assemblies has been designed with the average coolant density of 248 kg/m3. It is achieved by setting 380C inlet and 500C outlet temperature. For satisfying negative void reactivity, a solid moderator layer composed of zirconium hydride (ZrH) rods are adopted in some blanket assemblies. Cross sections of the blanket fuel assemblies with ZrH rods are prepared with assembly-wise calculation, because the pin-wise collision probability calculation overestimates the breeding. MOX fuel is used for seed fuel assemblies.
Three types of core layouts with “radially heterogeneous”, “radiating” and “scattered” seed assemblies have been considered, and “radiating” layout shows best breeding characteristics among them. The seed assemblies in a “radiating” layout are not radially separated so that more numbers of blanket assemblies can be placed in high neutron flux region of a core. Fraction of blanket fuel assemblies with ZrH rods is selected for high breeding.
Super FBR using the new fuel assemblies achieved both negative void and high plutonium breeding.