Utilization of thorium and U-ZrH1.6 fuels in various heterogeneous cores for TRIGA PUSPATI Reactor (RTP)

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Bin Damahuri A.H.
Mohamed H.
Mohamed A.A.
Idris F.
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Institute of Physics Publishing
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The use of thorium as nuclear fuel has been an appealing prospect for many years and will be great significance to nuclear power generation. There is an increasing need for more research on thorium as Malaysian government is currently active in the national Thorium Flagship Project, which was launched in 2014. The thorium project, which is still in phase 1, focuses on the research and development of the thorium extraction from mineral processing ore. Thus, the aim of the study is to investigate other alternative TRIGA PUSPATI Reactor (RTP) core designs that can fully utilize thorium. Currently, the RTP reactor has an average neutron flux of 2.797 x 1012 cm-2/s-1 and an effective multiplication factor, k eff, of 1.001. The RTP core has a circular array core configuration with six circular rings. Each ring consists of 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 U-ZrH1.6 fuel rods. There are three main type of uranium weight, namely 8.5, 12 and 20 wt.%. For this research, uranium zirconium hydride (U-ZrH1.6) fuel rods in the RTP core were replaced by thorium (ThO2) fuel rods. Seven core configurations with different thorium fuel rods placements were modelled in a 2D structure and simulated using Monte Carlo n-particle (MCNPX) code. Results show that the highest initial criticality obtained is around 1.35101. Additionally there is a significant discrepancy between results from previous study and the work because of the large estimated leakage probability of approximately 21.7% and 2D model simplification. � Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.
Fuels; Nuclear fuels; Ore treatment; Ores; Thoria; Thorium; Uranium; Uranium compounds; Core configuration; Effective multiplication factor; Heterogeneous cores; Malaysian governments; Mineral processing; Monte carlo n particles; Research and development; Thorium extraction; Zirconium compounds