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NPRE 199 Undergraduate Seminar Series - Senior Design Presentations

Event Type
academic, engineering, graduate
NPRE 199 Undergraduate Seminar Series
wifi event
May 4, 2021   12:00 - 12:50 pm  
Ross Radel, CEO, Phoenix
Free and Open to the Public

Lithium Blanket and Tritium Extraction System

Andrew Herschberg, Lucas Hopper, Raad Najam

The energy demands for our society have risen considerably due to increased urbanization, population growth and the growing electrical needs of the developing world. To engage in the energy challenges of the future, we turn to nuclear fusion as a new carbon-free source of energy. However, while fusion provides a sustainable solution to abundant energy, there are still challenges to face before a commercial design can be finalized. The tritium necessary for a D-T fusion reactor is scarce and therefore a solution needs to be devised to breed and obtain the rare isotope. A PbLi blanket and Permeation Against Vacuum (PAV) device has been proposed to breed and drive tritium extraction from the PbLi loops into a vacuum. The proposed nuclear fusion power plant DEMO (DEMOnstration Power Plant) served as the model for this design. Tritium extraction rates and solubility are calculated using a MATLAB code to determine if the PAV system can extract the tritium and reinsert it back into the blanket before it is spent. This would mean that the Tritium Breeding Ratio (TBR) is greater than 1, a condition necessary for a commercially viable fusion reactor.

Optimizing the Core Lifetime of the OPEN100 Small Modular Reactor

Anna Balla, Erin Fanning, Jimmy Shehee

Nuclear power has the capacity to provide clean and reliable energy. While typical plants can run for an excess of forty years, they have a very high up-front cost. One solution to this problem is the implementation of small modular reactors, or SMRs, which require a smaller initial capital investment and possess greater flexibility in their location and size. The OPEN100 reactor is one such design which seeks to make construction even more affordable by open-sourcing the engineering behind the project. The OPEN100 project is also unique in its targeted core lifetime: five to six years of operation without fuel shuffling or refueling. While many components of the core are typical of the current U.S. reactor fleet, the design is different in its smaller number of assemblies and the use of control drums rather than control rods. The goal of this project is to optimize the core lifetime of this reactor. In order to do this, the neutronics design of the core, including burnable neutron absorbers, enrichment patterns, and arrangement of the fuel, must be considered. The reactor core was simulated using Serpent, a multi-purpose three-dimensional continuous-energy Monte Carlo particle transport code. The results of the core optimization will be discussed in this presentation

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