Sensitivity/uncertainty analyses comparing LR-0 reactor experiments containing FLiBe salt with models for molten-salt-cooled and molten-salt-fueled reactors

J. J. Powers, N. R. Brown, D. E. Mueller, B. W. Patton, E. Losa, M. Košťál

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Critical experiments using an insertion zone with FLiBe salt performed at the LR-0 reactor at Research Centre Řež (RC Řež) have been compared to application models for solid-fueled, fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR) and liquid-fueled molten salt reactor (MSR) concepts using sensitivity and uncertainty (S/U) analysis techniques. These experiments support FHR and MSR advanced reactor concepts by informing on neutron spectral effects and nuclear data uncertainties related to fluoride salts. The FLiBe salt in the LR-0 experiments is from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and is enriched to greater than 99.99% 7Li. This work is part of a broader collaboration between the United States and the Czech Republic on MSR and FHR technology. Results from the S/U analyses for FHR and MSR models indicated the most significant potential source of eigenvalue bias due to nuclear data within the FLiBe salt is radiative capture in 7Li. Other smaller but potentially significant contributions come from 19F, 6Li, and other 7Li reactions. Similarity comparisons of the RC Řež LR-0 experiments and FHR and MSR application models indicate that the LR-0 FLiBe experiments could be useful as candidate benchmarks for low-enriched uranium–fueled application models. However, sensitivity differences observed included both spectral effects, due to the LR-0 reactor being moderated by water instead of graphite and fluoride salt, and sensitivity magnitude effects driven by the amount of FLiBe inserted and its location. New experiments with refined designs to increase the volume and importance of salt in the system could provide improved data. Results also demonstrate that salt systems using thorium and/or 233U fuel will require additional experiments with relevant driver fuels. Increased contributions from the graphite moderator and 19F and covariance between reactions such as 233U fission and 233U radiative capture indicate higher uncertainty contributions from the salt and significant differences in contributions from the fuel species due to underlying uncertainties in their nuclear data.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)319-332
    Number of pages14
    JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
    Volume120
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2018

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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