lecture15 - Nuclear Reactors I Conventional fuels Fuel...

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ENGRI 1290 1 Nuclear Reactors I Conventional fuels Fuel assembly Reactor design
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ENGRI 1290 2 Lecture’s objectives Learning the different types of fuel used in commercial reactors Discovering the nuclear fuel assembly Exploring the design of nuclear reactors
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ENGRI 1290 3 Controlled Fission The fuel The fuel has a small amount of fissile material to avoid “critical mass” (mass at which an uncontrolled chain reaction happens) A chain reaction The initial start up is done by a strong neutron emitting source ( 241 Am, 252 Cf) A moderator Avoid run away chain reaction by slowing down neutrons. Typically carbon inside the fuel and cooling fluid (water,He) An absorber Limiting or stopping nuclear fission reactions. It is inside the control rods. To obtain controlled fission, the nuclear reaction requires:
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ENGRI 1290 4 Nuclear fuel The uranium ore contains 99.28% of 238 U and 0.72% of 235 U. 235 U is the only fissile material found in nature which is fissile using slow (i.e. thermal) neutrons. It means that only 0.72% of the mass of fuel can undergo nuclear fission. This is barely economical. So the nuclear fuel is enriched by adding more 235 U to 238 U. 235 U fission has an energy density of 83TJ/kg Enriched uranium has an energy density of 2.9TJ/kg
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ENGRI 1290 5 Nuclear reactor fuel Oxide fuels UOX: uranium oxide MOX: uranium oxide and plutonium (transmuting plutonium) Ceramic fuels Uranium carbide Uranium nitride Metal fuels Actinide fuel – Triga fuel The fuel put inside is still too active to be used as is in the reactor. It is mixed with other elements to make it more manageable.
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