Nuclear design analysis of low-power (1-30 KWe) space nuclear reactor systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vh53wz58h

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  • Preliminary nuclear design studies have been completed on ten configurations of nuclear reactors for low power (1-30 kWe) space applications utilizing thermionic energy conversion. Additional design studies have been conducted on the TRICE multimegawatt in-core thermionic reactor configuration. In each of the cases, a reactor configuration has been determined which has the potential for operating 7 years with sufficient reactivity margin. Additional safety evaluations have been conducted on these configurations including the determination of sufficient shutdown reactivity, and consideration of water immersion, water flooding, sand burial, and reactor compaction accident scenarios. It has been found, within the analysis conducted using the MCNP Monte Carlo neutron transport code, that there are configurations which are feasible and deserve further analysis. It has also been found that solid core reactors which rely solely on conduction for heat removal as well as pin type cores immersed in a liquid metal bath have merit. The solid cores look attractive when flooding and compaction accident scenarios are considered as there is little chance for water to enter the core and cause significant neutron moderation. A fuel volume fraction effect has also been found in the consideration of the sand burial cases for the SP-100 derived configurations.
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