Neutronics analyses for fast spectrum nuclear systems and scenario studies for advanced nuclear fuel cycles

Grasso, Giacomo (2010) Neutronics analyses for fast spectrum nuclear systems and scenario studies for advanced nuclear fuel cycles, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria energetica, nucleare e del controllo ambientale, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2812.
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The present PhD thesis summarizes the three-years study about the neutronic investigation of a new concept nuclear reactor aiming at the optimization and the sustainable management of nuclear fuel in a possible European scenario. A new generation nuclear reactor for the nuclear reinassance is indeed desired by the actual industrialized world, both for the solution of the energetic question arising from the continuously growing energy demand together with the corresponding reduction of oil availability, and the environment question for a sustainable energy source free from Long Lived Radioisotopes and therefore geological repositories. Among the Generation IV candidate typologies, the Lead Fast Reactor concept has been pursued, being the one top rated in sustainability. The European Lead-cooled SYstem (ELSY) has been at first investigated. The neutronic analysis of the ELSY core has been performed via deterministic analysis by means of the ERANOS code, in order to retrieve a stable configuration for the overall design of the reactor. Further analyses have been carried out by means of the Monte Carlo general purpose transport code MCNP, in order to check the former one and to define an exact model of the system. An innovative system of absorbers has been conceptualized and designed for both the reactivity compensation and regulation of the core due to cycle swing, as well as for safety in order to guarantee the cold shutdown of the system in case of accident. Aiming at the sustainability of nuclear energy, the steady-state nuclear equilibrium has been investigated and generalized into the definition of the ``extended'' equilibrium state. According to this, the Adiabatic Reactor Theory has been developed, together with a New Paradigm for Nuclear Power: in order to design a reactor that does not exchange with the environment anything valuable (thus the term ``adiabatic''), in the sense of both Plutonium and Minor Actinides, it is required indeed to revert the logical design scheme of nuclear cores, starting from the definition of the equilibrium composition of the fuel and submitting to the latter the whole core design. The New Paradigm has been applied then to the core design of an Adiabatic Lead Fast Reactor complying with the ELSY overall system layout. A complete core characterization has been done in order to asses criticality and power flattening; a preliminary evaluation of the main safety parameters has been also done to verify the viability of the system. Burn up calculations have been then performed in order to investigate the operating cycle for the Adiabatic Lead Fast Reactor; the fuel performances have been therefore extracted and inserted in a more general analysis for an European scenario. The present nuclear reactors fleet has been modeled and its evolution simulated by means of the COSI code in order to investigate the materials fluxes to be managed in the European region. Different plausible scenarios have been identified to forecast the evolution of the European nuclear energy production, including the one involving the introduction of Adiabatic Lead Fast Reactors, and compared to better analyze the advantages introduced by the adoption of new concept reactors. At last, since both ELSY and the ALFR represent new concept systems based upon innovative solutions, the neutronic design of a demonstrator reactor has been carried out: such a system is intended to prove the viability of technology to be implemented in the First-of-a-Kind industrial power plant, with the aim at attesting the general strategy to use, to the largest extent. It was chosen then to base the DEMO design upon a compromise between demonstration of developed technology and testing of emerging technology in order to significantly subserve the purpose of reducing uncertainties about construction and licensing, both validating ELSY/ALFR main features and performances, and to qualify numerical codes and tools.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Grasso, Giacomo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Ingegneria industriale
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
neutronics, lead-fast-reactor, nuclear-equilibrium, adiabatic-reactor, deterministic-transport-codes, monte-carlo, scenario-study, demonstrator-reactor
Data di discussione
17 Maggio 2010

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