Burnable absorber-integrated guide thimble (BigT) – II: application to 3D PWR core design
This paper is a companion to its immediate predecessor in the “Burnable absorber-integrated Guide Thimble” (BigT) series. It aims to demonstrate potential applications of the BigT concepts in a three-dimensional (3D) commercial pressurized water reactor core, which is based on the AP1000 first core design. The study specifically compares neutronic characteristics of the reference core against a BigT-loaded design. In this study, reactivity depletion patterns of nine fuel assembly lattices in the reference core were first evaluated. Corresponding sets of BigT-loaded assemblies that yield neutronically similar characteristics (i.e., initial reactivity suppression and depletion trend) with those of the reference assembly lattices were determined next. These BigT-loaded fuel assemblies were later loaded in place of the reference fuel assemblies for the subsequent high-fidelity 3D Monte Carlo core simulations. Results of the study clearly demonstrate that the BigT-loaded AP1000 first core performs as well as the reference core since all neutronic parameters are comparable, especially in terms of reactivity depletion, power peaking factors and shutdown margin. All simulations were completed using the Monte Carlo Serpent code with ENDF/B-VII.0 library.