Jiaqi Chen, Ph.D. Candidate
Dr. Caleb Brooks, Director of Research
October 31, 2023 | 1:30pm - 3:30pm CST
This final examination will be held in 101A Talbot Laboratory.
Simulation and analysis of the xenon removal system through gas sparging in molten salt reactors
ABSTRACT: Among the various Gen-IV advanced reactor concepts, the molten salt reactor, especially the liquid-fueled molten salt reactor is arguably the most unique type. The liquid-fuel molten salt reactors stand out due to their unique characteristics, among which the online fuel processing probably has received most attention. Several benefits follow the removal of undesirable fission gases, especially xenon-135, including improved fuel utilization and potential of rapid load-following operation. Though various studies have been performed on the xenon removal system in MSRs, conclusive results are lacking on how such a system should be designed in a commercial-scale MSR, and whether such a system is economical and viable.
The objective of the current study is to provide an answer to these questions by integrating the knowledges in different fields of literature and taking on different aspects of the xenon removal system with CFD simulation, system-analysis tools, as well as analytical approaches. The results presented in this study will be valuable for future development of the MSR technology.
The study includes a comprehensive analysis of the xenon removal system using a bottom-up strategy. First, the two-phase flow dynamics in the xenon removal system is studied using CFD simulation. Regression models are obtained for different components of the xenon removal system based on the CFD simulation. Subsequently, system-level models of two representative MSRs, the MSRE and MSDR, are constructed in Simulink, which includes coupled simulation capabilities of thermal-hydraulics flow, core neutronics, and complicated xenon transport in the primary loop. The system-level model is validated with the xenon poison data in MSRE and then used to design a reference xenon removal system in the commercial-scale reactor MSDR. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis is performed on the reference MSDR xenon removal system.