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In-pile testing of HCPB submodules: feasibility study for the European Blanket Project: final report
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ECN-I--98-013 Overig
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Full size module systems of the candidate DEMO blanket concepts selectedfor the European Blanket Project (EBP) will be tested in ITER, presently called Test Blanket modules (TBM). The Helium Cooled Pebble Bed (HCPB) is one of the two concepts developed in the European Union (EU). This development path consists of several scaling steps, including integral testing of a subsized module at realistic operation conditions. As part of the HCPB development work for the TBMs, ECN performed jointly with JRC/IAM at Petten a feasibility study for irradiation tests of subsized HCPB modules. The first stage of the study was concluded with a report on the conceptual design of an in-pile test of a single submodule with a helium cooling loop. Such test was considered technically feasible, but would require significant project duration and expenditures. Further development of detailed objectives for in-pile tests was recommended, in particular in view of the different parameters for the HCPB-ITM and DEMO-concept. This objective has been modified by the EBP in fall 1997. For the final stage of the study the test objective has been: the in-pile testing of the thermal/mechanical behaviour of the HCPB ceramic breeder beds, while giving lower priority to tritium transport issues (release, permeation). Several configuration options in the High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten, Netherlands, to perform in-pile test of HCPB submodules have been considered. Neutronics analyses along with thermal and structural analyses have been made for selected options and several HFR peripheral in-tank positions. These pre-design analyses show that the whole range of breeder bed power densities and temperature levels, which are relevant to the HCPB DEMO and BTM designs, can be reached with the options presented. The options are all cooled by the reactor coolant flow. The use of an helium loop is not compulsory and is considered as an unnecessary complication with regard to the present test objectives. Relevant lithium burnups can be reached in a reasonable time scale, due to a high availability of the HFR. The proposed type of irradiation experiment can be readily detailed and realized. 21 refs.

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