The Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is an 85 MWt flux trap-type research reactor that supports key research missions, including isotope production, materials irradiation, and neutron scattering. The core consists of an inner and an outer fuel element containing
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The Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is an 85 MWt flux trap-type research reactor that supports key research missions, including isotope production, materials irradiation, and neutron scattering. The core consists of an inner and an outer fuel element containing 171 and 369 involute-shaped plates, respectively. The thin fuel plates consist of a U3
-Al dispersion fuel (highly enriched), an aluminum-based filler, and aluminum cladding. The fuel meat thickness is varied across the width of the involute plate to reduce thermal flux peaks at the radial edges of the fuel elements. Some deviation from the designed fuel meat shaping is allowed during manufacturing. A homogeneity scan of each fuel plate checks for potential anomalies in the fuel distribution by scanning the surface of the plate and comparing the attenuation of the beam to calibration standards. While typical HFIR simulations use homogenized fuel regions, explicit models of the plates were developed under the Low-Enriched Uranium Conversion Program. These explicit models typically include one inner and one outer fuel plate with nominal fuel distributions, and then the plates are duplicated to fill the space of the corresponding fuel element. Therefore, data extracted from these simulations are limited to azimuthally averaged quantities. To determine the reactivity and physics impacts of an as-built outer fuel element and generate azimuthally dependent data in the element, 369 unique fuel plate models were generated and positioned. This model generates the three-dimensional (i.e., radial–axial–azimuthal) plate power profile, where the azimuthal profile is impacted by features within the adjacent control element region and beryllium reflector. For an as-built model of the outer fuel element, plate-specific homogeneity data, 235
U loading, enrichment, and channel thickness measurements were translated into the model, yielding a much more varied azimuthal power profile encompassed by uncertainty factors in analyses. These models were run with the ORNL-TN and Shift Monte Carlo tools, and they contained upwards of 500,000 cells and 100,000 unique tallies.