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Maximisation of the doppler effect in thermal reactors
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ECN-R--97-007 Overig
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Increase of the fuel temperature in a nuclear reactor leads, or can lead,to (1) A Doppler broadening of the resonances of the nuclides in the fuel; (2) An expansion of the fuel; and (3) A shift of the Maxwellian part of the spectrum to higher energies. These processes together introduce a certain amount of reactivity, which can be expressed in the so-called fuel temperature reactivity coefficient. The reactivity effect of the third process is very small, because the Maxwell spectrum is to a major extent determined by the moderator temperature. Moreover, the reactivity effect due to an expansion of the fuel is small too, for most thermal systems. When the second and third processes can be neglected, the fuel temperature reactivity effect is fully determined by the Doppler effect. The fuel temperature reactivity coefficient is then called the Doppler coefficient of reactivity. The Doppler broadening of the resonances causes an increase of resonance absorption, due to a decrease of self-shielding. The competition between resonance fission at the one hand and resonance capture at the other hand determines the sign and magnitude of the reactivity induced by an increase of the fuel temperature. In well-designed nuclear reactors the Doppler effect due to resonance capture by fertile nuclides exceeds the Doppler effect due to resonance fission, which implies that an increase of the fuel temperature causes a negative reactivity effect and a correspondingly negative Doppler coefficient. Since the Doppler effect is a prompt effect, occurring simultaneously with the dissipation of kinetic energy of the fission products into temperature, it is very important in the study of rapid power transients. In this report, the Doppler coefficient of reactivity is defined in chapter 2. Chapter 3 discusses the geometry of the unit-cell for which the calculations are performed and describes the fuel types that have been investigated. In chapter 4 the 'Doppler efficiency' is introduced and three methods by which it can be calculated are presented. Chapter 5 discusses the results of the calculations of the Doppler efficiency, based on both the NR(IM)-theory and the Nordheim Integral Method. Chapter 6 presents the results of the calculations of the Doppler coefficient of reactivity under the constraint of constant k#infinity# In this calculation, the Doppler coefficient of reactivity is calculated for different configurations of the unit-cell, but all yielding the same k#infinity#. This is done for both realistic fuels and artificial fuels. For the latter the fissile resonance absorbers are replaced by artificial 1/v fissile nuclides in order to isolate the resonance absorption effects caused by the dominant resonance absorbers. The conclusions with respect to the maximisation of the absolute value of the Doppler coefficient are presented in chapter 7. The appendices are auxiliary to chapter 4. 21 refs.

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