Square lattice honeycomb reactor for space power and propulsion

Gouw, Reza; Anghaie, Samim
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p1518
Academic Journal
The most recent nuclear design study at the Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute (INSPI) is the Moderated Square-Lattice Honeycomb (M-SLHC) reactor design utilizing the solid solution of ternary carbide fuels. The reactor is fueled with solid solution of 93% enriched (U,Zr,Nb)C. The square-lattice honeycomb design provides high strength and is amenable to the processing complexities of these ultrahigh temperature fuels. The optimum core configuration requires a balance between high specific impulse and thrust level performance, and maintaining the temperature and strength limits of the fuel. The M-SLHC design is based on a cylindrical core that has critical radius and length of 37 cm and 50 cm, respectively. This design utilized zirconium hydrate to act as moderator. The fuel sub-assemblies are designed as cylindrical tubes with 12 cm in diameter and 10 cm in length. Five fuel subassemblies are stacked up axially to form one complete fuel assembly. These fuel assemblies are then arranged in the circular arrangement to form two fuel regions. The first fuel region consists of six fuel assemblies, and 18 fuel assemblies for the second fuel region. A 10-cm radial beryllium reflector in addition to 10-cm top axial beryllium reflector is used to reduce neutron leakage from the system. To perform nuclear design analysis of the M-SLHC design, a series of neutron transport and diffusion codes are used. To optimize the system design, five axial regions are specified. In each axial region, temperature and fuel density are varied. The axial and radial power distributions for the system are calculated, as well as the axial and radial flux distributions. Temperature coefficients of the system are also calculated. A water submersion accident scenario is also analyzed for these systems. Results of the nuclear design analysis indicate that a compact core can be designed based on ternary uranium carbide square-lattice honeycomb fuel, which provides a rela...


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