Design of a Self-Regulating Deep Space Nuclear Reactor Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8049g815m

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  • An enabling technology for long duration, deep space missions is the availability of a high power, long-lived power supply. The goal of this work is the design of a self-regulating deep space nuclear reactor. The design objectives are to produce 250 kWth for a 25-year period using the presence of a microgravity field to regulate power output. System reliability is optimized by eliminating the use of mechanical moving parts and the need for external input for operation - either from human or software controllers - while building on the foundation of previous technology developments. To achieve the power output objective, a nuclear reactor is fueled with Uranium-Zirconium Hydride fuel with a coolant of sodium/potassium eutectic (NaK-78) circulated using electromagnetic pumps. Uranium-235 and burnable poison concentrations are adjusted to achieve the mission duration objective. Reactivity control is provided using an outer shield of liquid uranyl sulfate solution. This shield is thermally isolated from the reactor core to permit operation at a high temperature for thermodynamic efficiency while maintaining the reflector at a lower temperature for good power feedback. The novel concept of using a liquid reflector has two advantages: reactor operation is permissible only in the presence of a microgravity field and in the event of an inadvertent re-entry, the liquid reflector would volatize leaving the remaining structure inherently subcritical. Once deployed to a microgravity environment, a wicking structure embedded in the reflector fills with uranyl sulfate solution and the reactor becomes slightly super critical. Reactor power level increases until fuel temperature reactivity feedback limits power to the design goal of 250 kWth. Burnable poisons are used to compensate for the negative reactivity effects of fission product buildup over time. In effect, the reactor can operate only in a microgravity field. This work also details the construction of a model for validating the shut down margin criticality of TRIGA reactor storage racks. These racks are mounted in the reactor pools and are used to store the fuel that is not in use. TRIGA zirconium hydride fuel is similar to the fuel type that was ultimately calculated for use in the Self-Regulating Deep Space Nuclear Reactor. In both situations a very strong prompt negative reactivity coefficient is desirable. Zirconium hydride fuel is the most mature candidate for such applications.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Matthew Robinson (robimatt@onid.orst.edu) on 2016-03-16T19:55:14Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) MLRobinson_Dissertation_3_10_2016_01.pdf: 4238130 bytes, checksum: ec808faca5153bf43d14b7b56665781c (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2016-03-18T17:14:04Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) MLRobinson_Dissertation_3_10_2016_01.pdf: 4238130 bytes, checksum: ec808faca5153bf43d14b7b56665781c (MD5) Previous issue date: 2016-03-10
  • description.provenance : Rejected by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu), reason: Hi Matthew, Just checked over your dissertation to make sure everything is fine once I receive your signed ETD form. Everything was good except for one misspelled word in the heading. The word ACKNOWLEDGMENTS is showing as ACKNOWLEGMENTS, so it's missing the "D'. Everything else is good. Once revised, log back into ScholarsArchive and go to the upload page. Replace the attached file with the revised file and resubmit. Thanks, Julie on 2016-03-16T19:09:19Z (GMT)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-03-18T17:14:04Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) MLRobinson_Dissertation_3_10_2016_01.pdf: 4238130 bytes, checksum: ec808faca5153bf43d14b7b56665781c (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-03-17T17:35:31Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) MLRobinson_Dissertation_3_10_2016_01.pdf: 4238130 bytes, checksum: ec808faca5153bf43d14b7b56665781c (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Matthew Robinson (robimatt@onid.orst.edu) on 2016-03-15T22:14:32Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) MLRobinson_Dissertation_3_10_2016.pdf: 4237958 bytes, checksum: 06fa04c268b2c03b9ed69d3d7714f20f (MD5)

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