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الأربعاء، 5 نوفمبر، 2014

Criticality Calculations for a Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Plant

Title: Criticality Calculations for a Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Plant
Author        : Hady Abd El-Fatah Ibrahim El-Sayed
Collection   : Ph.D. Nuclear
     Abstract:
The operations with the fissile materials such as U235 introduce the risk of a criticality accident that may be lethal to nearby personnel and can lead the facility to shutdown. Therefore, the prevention of a nuclear criticality accident should play a major role in the design of a nuclear facility. The objectives of criticality safety are to prevent a self-sustained nuclear chain reaction and to minimize its consequences. Sixty criticality accidents occurred in the world. These accidents are divided into two categories, 22 accidents occurred in process facilities and 38 accidents occurred during critical experiments or operations with research reactors. About 21 criticality accidents including Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co. (JCO) accident took place with fuel solution or slurry and only one accident occurred with metal fuel. In this work, the nuclear criticality calculations have been performed for a typical nuclear fuel fabrication plant producing nuclear fuel elements for nuclear research reactors with low-enriched uranium up to 20 %. The calculations were performed for both normal and abnormal conditions. The effective multiplication factor (keff) during the nuclear fuel fabrication process (Uranium hexafluoride – Ammonium Diuranate (ADU) conversion process) was determined. A proposed liquid control system was designed to stop the process and protect the system from reaching the set point initiating the critical conditions.
multiplication factor (keff) was subcritical during normal and abnormal conditions in the precipitation process. Several accident scenarios were postulated and the criticalities of these accidents were evaluated. The computer code MCNP-4B which based on Monte Carlo methodology was used to calculate neutron multiplication factor. The criticality calculations were performed for the cases of, change of moderator to fuel ratio, solution density and concentration of the solute in order to prevent or mitigate criticality accidents during the nuclear fuel fabrication process. The calculation results were analyzed and discussed.

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