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A two-group study on the gadolinium particle depletion in light water reactor fuel rods

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  • The effect of gadolinia particles on the assembly criticality of a light water reactor was investigated using two 2-group models. The particle effect was calculated by comparing the criticalities of two fuel assemblies, each containing one gadolinia-poisoned rod. For purposes of comparison, both rods contained an equal quantity of gadolinia, but the gadolinia fraction in one rod was in particle form. It was assumed that one pseudo-isotope represented Gd-155 and Gd-157, while the other isotopes were not considered. A one-group model developed by Kenneth Hartley(KH), was expanded into a two-group model, using a flat distribution for the fast group neutron flux. Gadolinia density was uniformly reduced by fast neutrons and the gadolinia burnup-rate was increased. The transparency effect of the gadolinia core was also included in the two group-KH model, allowing predictions of smoother changes at the peak of Δk (difference between k of the particle rod assembly and k of the uniform rod assembly). The Oregon State University Collision Probability (OSUCP) two-group model was developed for the investigation of the inter-particle shielding effect. A collision probability method was used to calculate thermal flux, and the flat fast-group flux assumption was used. The results of this study indicated that for small, 10-micron particles, the KH model failed to predict correct Δk behavior for the two assemblies. However, for larger, 100-micron particles both models well in agreement for the Δk profile, and for 500-micron particles both models were in agreement on both the behavior and magnitude of Δk. It should be noted that the computation time requirements for the collision probability model exceeded those for the KH model by a factor of approximately 100, due to the nature of the collision probability calculations.
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