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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: February 2014

3 - Reactor Core



Having described the neutron physics of a fast reactor in Chapter 1 and the behaviour of the fuel elements in Chapter 2, in this chapter we discuss the engineering of the core of a power-producing fast reactor. The three following sections deal with heat transfer, materials and structure.

Heat transfer comes first because the dimensions of the fuel elements and of the core are determined mainly by the demands of heat transfer. The fuel elements have to be of the right dimensions to transfer heat to the coolant at the required rate without overheating. The core has then to be large enough to allow enough coolant to flow through it to take the heat away. This section deals mainly with liquid metal coolants.

Once themain dimensions are fixed the form of the core is determined by the properties of the materials of which it is made, and in particular by the way these properties are affected by neutron irradiation and exposure to the coolant. The structure of the core has then to be designed within these constraints to hold the fuel in place, to allow it to be changed when necessary, to distribute the coolant flow correctly, and to provide for the control rods.

References for Chapter 3
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Bramman, J. I., Brown, C., Watkin, J. S., Cawthorne, C., Fulton, E. J., Burton, P. J. and Little, E. A. (1978) Void Swelling and Microstructural Changes in Fuel Pin Cladding and Unstressed Specimens irradiated in DFR, pp 479–508 in Radiation Effects in Breeder Reactor Structural Materials, American Society of Mining Engineers, New York
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Etherington, E. W., Bramman, J. I., Nelson, R. S. and Norgett, M. J. (1975) A UKAEA Evaluation of Displacement Damage Models for Iron, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 33 82–90
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Hoffman, H. and Weinberg, D. (1978) Thermodynamic and Fluiddynamic Aspects in Optimizing the Design of Fast Reactor Subassemblies, pp 133–139 in Optimisation of Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors, British Nuclear Energy Society, London
Hsiung, L., Fluss, M. and Kimura, A. (2010) Structure of Oxide Nanoparticles in Fe-16Cr MA/ODS Ferritic Steel Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report LLNL-JRNL-427350
Mosedale, D. and Lewthwaite, G. W. (1974) Irradiation Creep in Some Austenitic Stainless Steels, Nimonic PE16 Alloy, and Nickel, pp 169–188 in Creep Strength in Steel and High-Temperature Alloys, London, The Metals Society, London
Nettley, P. T., Bell, I. P., Bagley, K. Q., Harries, D. R., Thorley, A. W. and Tyzack, C. (1967) Problems in the Selection and Utilization of Materials in Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors, pp 825–849 in Fast Breeder Reactors (BNES Conference proceedings), Pergamon, Oxford
Subbotin, V. I., Papovyants, A. K., Kirillov, P. L. and Ivanovskii, N. N. (1963) A Study of Heat Transfer to Molten Sodium in Tubes, Soviet Journal of Atomic Energy, 13, 991–994
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