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Date of Award

10-1989

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physiology and Pharmacology

Supervisor

P.M. O'Byrne

Abstract

Heavy water moderated thermal nuclear fission reactors have a greater inherent neutron economy than light water or graphite moderated reactor designs. Consequently, such units, operating on a variety of fuel cycles, may play an ever-increasing role in meeting future global energy demands. This thesis explores, analytically, the operational advantages and challenges associated with the use of a low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel cycle in advanced reactors based on the CANDU heavy water moderated, pressure tube design concept. The flexibility afforded through the use of LEU fuel is applied to enhance the operational and safety characteristics of reactors utilizing this fuel cycle. An investigation of factors influencing coolant void reactivity is conducted. Design modifications are introduced to reduce the coolant void reactivity, while maintaining the continued capability of high power operation. An enrichment and element radius graded fuel bundle design is developed with a central graphite core, an inner ring of 14 fuel elements, and an outer ring of 21 fuel elements. Fuel and lattice design perturbations are investigated to examine the effect of lattice pitch variations, capability of radioisotope production, the use of burnable poisons, and light water coolant. Xenon override requirements with LEU fuel are addressed. The efficacy of using modified two group (M-2) neutron diffusion theory for LEU fuel management studies is investigated. A modelling strategy is developed for the simulation of reactivity devices and fuel lattice properties using the M-2 methodology with a fixed energy cut-off. Detailed fuel management studies are conducted to examine the operational intricacies of LEU fuelling. Improved checkerboard type fuelling strategies are developed. Finally, the CANDU - Spectral Shift Advanced Thermal Reactor (CANDU-SSATR) is introduced and characterized. This multi-spectrum high burnup advanced reactor design utilizing simplified fuel management strategies holds great promise for the future.

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