A study on criticality of coupled fast-thermal core HERBE at RB reactor


Pesic,-M.; Zavaljevski,-M.; Milosevic,-M.; Stefanovic,-D.; Nikolic,-D.; Avdic,-S. (Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinca, Belgrade (Yugoslavia)); Popovic,-D.; Marinkovic,-P. (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Beograd (Yugoslavia). The coupled fast-thermal core HERBE at the RB zero power heavy water reactor in Vinca was designed with the aim of improving the experimental possibilities in fast neutron fields. The requirements for minimum modifications in the RB construction and the use available fuel, restricted design flexibility of the coupled system. The following core is considered optimal in the light of the foregoing constraints: the central fast core of natural uranium is surrounded by a neutron filter zone (cadmium and natural uranium) and a converter zone (enriched uranium fuel, without moderator). The coupling region is heavy water. The thermal core in the form of the RB heavy water 80% enriched uranium lattice with 12 cm pitch. The criticality of the system is obtained by adjusting the moderator level. The critical heavy water levels were measured for normal reactor operation and some simulated accidental conditions. These data were analyzed by a computer code for the design of thermal and coupled fast-thermal reactor recently developed in IBK Nuclear Engineering Laboratory. Good agreement between the computations and experimental data was achieved.