Nuclear Science

| Peer-Reviewed |

Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR)

Received: 28 March 2023    Accepted: 27 April 2023    Published: 10 May 2023
Views:       Downloads:

Share This Article

Abstract

South Africa requires safe affordable distributed base load energy, one way to achieve this is to use nuclear power integrated with renewable energy sources on a decentralized basis. This suggests the development of its own micro modular nuclear reactor, to supply energy to towns, small communities, mines and processing plants. Large Light Water Reactors (LWRs) are expensive and require a large infrastructure development. A High Temperature Reactor (HTR) called the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR) is in the process of being developed and the design philosophy is to design for inherent safety, maximally using technology that has been developed and validated in previous HTR programs albeit in a completely different and unique configuration. The concept is based on existing knowhow and experience/expertise in South Africa during the time of the Pebble Bed Modular reactor (PBMR) project. These AMR reactors are to be factory built to obtain good quality control and rolled out to various sites. Once the reactor has reached its end of life, it would be returned to a licensed organisation for refuelling. The AMR produces 10MW of thermal power. The reactor configuration uses hexagonal graphite blocks for structural and moderator material, which are arranged to form a cylindrical core layout. The fuel assemblies are silicon carbide tubes that house coated particle fuel, immersed in a lead-bismuth eutectic alloy (LBE). Each fuel assembly is contained in a boring within the graphite moderator that allows an annulus for cooling. There are 420 fuel assemblies in the core. Low enriched fuel in the form of UO2 or UCO is used. Helium gas is used as coolant. The coolant enters the core at 450°C and exits at 750°C. The mechanical, neutronic and thermal-hydraulic design of the AMR, is being evaluated with assistance from STL Nuclear (Pty) Ltd., the University of Pretoria (UP), the North-West University and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA). The OSCAR-5 code package, together with the Serpent neutronic code were used to perform the basic neutronic studies while the Flownex package was used to determine the thermal-hydraulic and safety evaluation for the Design Base Accident (DBA) specifically the Depressurized Loss of Forced Cooling (DLOFC) event.

DOI 10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13
Published in Nuclear Science (Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2023)
Page(s) 8-29
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Depressurized Loss of Forced Cooling (DLOFC), High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU), High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR), Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE), Silicon Carbide (SiC), TRIstructural-ISOtropic (TRISO), Uranium Oxycarbide (UCO)

References
[1] Petti, D. Implications of Results from the Advanced Gas Reactor Fuel Development and Qualification Program on Licensing of Modular HTGRs. HTR 2014.
[2] G. H. Lohnert and H. Reutler “The Advantages of going Modular in HTRs”, Nucl. Eng. & Des. Vol. 78, Issue 2, p. 129-136, 1 Apr. 1984.
[3] Lohnert G. H. The consequences of water ingress into the primary circuit of an HTR-Modul - From the design basis accident to hypothetical postulates. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 134 (North Holland), 159-176, 1992.
[4] Hansen, U. The V. S. O. P. System Present Worth Fuel Cycle Calculation Methods and Codes, KPD. In Dragon Project Report 915. Winfrith: Pergamon Press, 1975.
[5] Generation International Forum (Generation IV Goals 2020).
[6] Handbook on Lead-bismuth Eutectic Alloy and Lead Properties, Materials Compatibility, Thermal-hydraulics and Technologies (2015 Edition), Nuclear Energy Agency Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. OECD 2015. NEA. No. 7268, 2015.
[7] Cengel, Y. A., & Ghajar, A. J. Heat and mass transfer: Fundamentals and applications (5th edition.). McGraw-Hill Professional, 2014.
[8] Zehner, P. Schlünder, E.-U. Wärmeleitfähigkeit von Schüttungen bei mässigen Temperaturen, Chemie-Ingenieur-Technik 42, 933–941, 1970.
[9] Zehner, P. Schlünder, E.-U. Einfluss der Wärmestrahlung und des Druckes auf den Wärmetransport in nicht, 1995.
[10] Slabber, J. F. M, Reactor Coolant Flow and Heat Transfer, MUA782, Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering University Of Pretoria, 2021.
[11] M-Tech Industrial, Flownex SE Version 8.14.0.4675, http://www.flownex.com, 2022.
[12] Lommers, L. J., Mays, B. E, Shahrokhi, F. Passive heat removal impact on AREVA HTR design, Nuclear Engineering and Design 271, 569-577, 2014.
Cite This Article
  • APA Style

    Wayne Arthur Boyes, Johan Slabber, Charl du Toit, Francois van Heerden. (2023). Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR). Nuclear Science, 8(1), 8-29. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13

    Copy | Download

    ACS Style

    Wayne Arthur Boyes; Johan Slabber; Charl du Toit; Francois van Heerden. Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR). Nucl. Sci. 2023, 8(1), 8-29. doi: 10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13

    Copy | Download

    AMA Style

    Wayne Arthur Boyes, Johan Slabber, Charl du Toit, Francois van Heerden. Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR). Nucl Sci. 2023;8(1):8-29. doi: 10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13

    Copy | Download

  • @article{10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13,
      author = {Wayne Arthur Boyes and Johan Slabber and Charl du Toit and Francois van Heerden},
      title = {Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR)},
      journal = {Nuclear Science},
      volume = {8},
      number = {1},
      pages = {8-29},
      doi = {10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ns.20230801.13},
      abstract = {South Africa requires safe affordable distributed base load energy, one way to achieve this is to use nuclear power integrated with renewable energy sources on a decentralized basis. This suggests the development of its own micro modular nuclear reactor, to supply energy to towns, small communities, mines and processing plants. Large Light Water Reactors (LWRs) are expensive and require a large infrastructure development. A High Temperature Reactor (HTR) called the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR) is in the process of being developed and the design philosophy is to design for inherent safety, maximally using technology that has been developed and validated in previous HTR programs albeit in a completely different and unique configuration. The concept is based on existing knowhow and experience/expertise in South Africa during the time of the Pebble Bed Modular reactor (PBMR) project. These AMR reactors are to be factory built to obtain good quality control and rolled out to various sites. Once the reactor has reached its end of life, it would be returned to a licensed organisation for refuelling. The AMR produces 10MW of thermal power. The reactor configuration uses hexagonal graphite blocks for structural and moderator material, which are arranged to form a cylindrical core layout. The fuel assemblies are silicon carbide tubes that house coated particle fuel, immersed in a lead-bismuth eutectic alloy (LBE). Each fuel assembly is contained in a boring within the graphite moderator that allows an annulus for cooling. There are 420 fuel assemblies in the core. Low enriched fuel in the form of UO2 or UCO is used. Helium gas is used as coolant. The coolant enters the core at 450°C and exits at 750°C. The mechanical, neutronic and thermal-hydraulic design of the AMR, is being evaluated with assistance from STL Nuclear (Pty) Ltd., the University of Pretoria (UP), the North-West University and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA). The OSCAR-5 code package, together with the Serpent neutronic code were used to perform the basic neutronic studies while the Flownex package was used to determine the thermal-hydraulic and safety evaluation for the Design Base Accident (DBA) specifically the Depressurized Loss of Forced Cooling (DLOFC) event.},
     year = {2023}
    }
    

    Copy | Download

  • TY  - JOUR
    T1  - Evaluation of the Basic Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics for the Safety Evaluation of the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR)
    AU  - Wayne Arthur Boyes
    AU  - Johan Slabber
    AU  - Charl du Toit
    AU  - Francois van Heerden
    Y1  - 2023/05/10
    PY  - 2023
    N1  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13
    DO  - 10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13
    T2  - Nuclear Science
    JF  - Nuclear Science
    JO  - Nuclear Science
    SP  - 8
    EP  - 29
    PB  - Science Publishing Group
    SN  - 2640-4346
    UR  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ns.20230801.13
    AB  - South Africa requires safe affordable distributed base load energy, one way to achieve this is to use nuclear power integrated with renewable energy sources on a decentralized basis. This suggests the development of its own micro modular nuclear reactor, to supply energy to towns, small communities, mines and processing plants. Large Light Water Reactors (LWRs) are expensive and require a large infrastructure development. A High Temperature Reactor (HTR) called the Advanced Micro Reactor (AMR) is in the process of being developed and the design philosophy is to design for inherent safety, maximally using technology that has been developed and validated in previous HTR programs albeit in a completely different and unique configuration. The concept is based on existing knowhow and experience/expertise in South Africa during the time of the Pebble Bed Modular reactor (PBMR) project. These AMR reactors are to be factory built to obtain good quality control and rolled out to various sites. Once the reactor has reached its end of life, it would be returned to a licensed organisation for refuelling. The AMR produces 10MW of thermal power. The reactor configuration uses hexagonal graphite blocks for structural and moderator material, which are arranged to form a cylindrical core layout. The fuel assemblies are silicon carbide tubes that house coated particle fuel, immersed in a lead-bismuth eutectic alloy (LBE). Each fuel assembly is contained in a boring within the graphite moderator that allows an annulus for cooling. There are 420 fuel assemblies in the core. Low enriched fuel in the form of UO2 or UCO is used. Helium gas is used as coolant. The coolant enters the core at 450°C and exits at 750°C. The mechanical, neutronic and thermal-hydraulic design of the AMR, is being evaluated with assistance from STL Nuclear (Pty) Ltd., the University of Pretoria (UP), the North-West University and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA). The OSCAR-5 code package, together with the Serpent neutronic code were used to perform the basic neutronic studies while the Flownex package was used to determine the thermal-hydraulic and safety evaluation for the Design Base Accident (DBA) specifically the Depressurized Loss of Forced Cooling (DLOFC) event.
    VL  - 8
    IS  - 1
    ER  - 

    Copy | Download

Author Information
  • Department of Reactor Design, STL Nuclear (Pty) Ltd., Pretoria, South Africa

  • Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

  • Unit for Energy and Technology Systems, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

  • Radiation and Reactor Theory, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation NECSA (SOC, Ltd), North-West, South Africa

  • Sections