Design study of nuclear power systems for deep space explorers (1) criticality of low enriched uranium fueled core

Teruhiko Kugo, Hiroshi Akie, Akifumi Yamaji, Kunihiko Nabeshima, Takamichi Iwamura, Hajime Akikmoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Combining a nuclear reactor with thermoelectric converters is expected to be one of the few promising options to supply a propulsion power for deep space explorers. In the present study, the criticality of low enriched uranium reactor core is surveyed. The fuel materials of uranium oxide, nitride and metal were examined. Zirconium and yttrium hydrides, beryllium, zirconium beryllide and graphite were considered as the moderator materials. The reflector materials of beryllium, beryllium oxide and graphite were taken into consideration. The investigation of criticality of the low enriched uranium core was performed by changing the ratio of the fuel, moderator and structure in the core, and the thickness of the reflector. As a result from the viewpoint of the smaller critical mass of the low enriched uranium fueled reactor, it is found to be better to use the thermal spectrum system than the fast system, and the metal hydride moderators than beryllium or graphite. Promising reactor core concepts, which attain criticality with the reactor mass of less than 1,000kg, are obtained when zirconium hydride, yttrium hydride or beryllium is used for moderator. For example, the combination of uranium nitride fuel, yttrium hydride moderator and beryllium reflector achieves the reactor mass of as low as 500kg.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009
PublisherAtomic Energy Society of Japan
Pages2487-2494
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781617386084
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1
EventInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009 - Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 2009 May 102009 May 14

Publication series

NameInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009
Volume3

Other

OtherInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009
CountryJapan
CityShinjuku, Tokyo
Period09/5/1009/5/14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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    Kugo, T., Akie, H., Yamaji, A., Nabeshima, K., Iwamura, T., & Akikmoto, H. (2009). Design study of nuclear power systems for deep space explorers (1) criticality of low enriched uranium fueled core. In International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009 (pp. 2487-2494). (International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2009, ICAPP 2009; Vol. 3). Atomic Energy Society of Japan.