A program is underway to convert the current high-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel in the 20-MW D2O-moderated research reactor (NBSR) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A RELAP5 model has been developed to analyze postulated accidents in the NBSR with the present HEU fuel and a proposed LEU fuel. The model includes the reactor vessel, primary pumps, shutdown pumps, various valves, heat exchangers, and average and hottest fuel elements and flow channels in the region where flow enters through an inner plenum (6 fuel elements) and a region where flow enters through an outer plenum (24 elements). The equilibrium cycle power distributions in the fuel elements were determined based on three-dimensional Monte Carlo neutron transport calculations performed with the MCNPX code. In this paper we discuss safety analyses conducted for the loss-of-flow accidents resulting from either loss of electrical power or inadvertent throttling of flow control valves at the inlets to the inner and outer plena. The analysis shows that the fuel conversion will not lead to significant changes in the safety analysis and that the calculated maximum clad temperatures, minimum critical heat flux ratios, and minimum onset of flow instability ratios assure that there is adequate margin to fuel failure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Condensed Matter Physics