Honors College Thesis

 

The Control and Safety Analysis of a Small Fission Surface Power Reactor Public

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  • The NKUA1 is a Small Fission Surface Power (SFSP) space reactor intended for use in upcoming missions to Mars and the moon between the years 2020-2030. The concept of the reactor was created by Dr. Lee Mason and his research team in a joint effort between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); complete design of the reactor core was developed by Dr. David Poston at Los Alamos National Laboratories. The Monte Carlo Neutron-Particle (MCNP) Transport code script of the NKUA1 core was used to perform a variety of criticality safety related calculations. The analysis was conducted to compare the effectiveness of control rods versus control drums in providing a safe shutdown configuration. The control drums proved to be more efficient in delivery of negative reactivity, conserved more space than the control rods, and have been found to be highly effective in space reactors. A safety analysis was also performed on the NKUA1 concerning its function in specific accident scenarios. In each accident scenario, the reflector and control drums were removed and the reactor was enclosed in a common naturally occurring material. The reactor was found to be safely shut down in each scenario, with acceptable shutdown margins being greater than $10.00.
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