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Reactor ProgrammeResearch Reactors

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Reactor Programme Research Reactors

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									                                     Reactor Programme
                                     Research Reactors
                                         APSARA and DHRUVA reactors continued to operate
                                     satisfactorily, and refurbishing work of CIRUS reactor was
                                     continued.
                                         Apsara reactor completed 45 years of successful
                                     operation. The reactor continued to be utilized in neutron
                                     activation analysis, radiation damage studies, forensic
                                     research, testing of neutron detectors, neutron radiography
                                     and shielding experiments. During the year 352 samples
                                     were irradiated for research and radioisotope production.
                                         Refurbishing activities of CIRUS were continued. Re-
                                     commissioning of some of the reactor process and safety
systems has commenced. The refurbishing outage was also utillised for making a few safety
upgrades in the reactor.The reactor continued to operate with a high level of safety and
availability. Around 1000 radioisotope samples were irradiated in Dhruva during the year.

    Some of the major activities during the year
were as follows:
    l    A Controlled Temperature Irradiation
Facility for carrying out irradiation studies on
structural materials at elevated temperatures was
installed in one of the beam hole position of the
reactor.
    l    The Pneumatic Carrier Facility was
commissioned and made available for regular
use. This facility permits short-term irradiation
of samples, ranging from few seconds to ten
minutes for neutron activation analysis.
    l Installation of control and instrumentation
for 2 MW In-Pile Loop was completed.                     Fresh charge of fuel getting ready for Cirus
    l An on-line fault diagnostic system for             startup
continuous monitoring and identifying any fault
in the channel flow monitoring system was commissioned.
    l Preparatory work related to Xenon Irradiation Facility was completed and proposal was
submitted to safety authorities for its installation in the reactor.

Critical Facility
   Construction of a new Critical Facility for reactor physics experiments of Advanced Heavy
Water Reactor and 500 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor was commenced.
   Core physics design, shielding design, detailed design of process systems, core components,
reactor control and instrumentation, electrical power supply and distribution, reactor building
ventilation and other auxiliary systems was completed. Design safety review of the facility by a
Project Design Safety Review Committee is in progress.
   Civil works related to integrating a desalination unit based on low temperature vacuum
evaporation process with Cirus were started.
                                    Preliminary design of a pool type high neutron flux multi
                                 purpose research reactor employing uranium silicide LEU fuel
                                 with different loading densities was worked out.
                                    Preliminary studies were initiated to investigate feasibility of
                                 coupling a typical pool type reactor with an Accelerator Driven
                                 Sub-critical System. Also, a study was undertaken to examine
                                 feasibility of assembling a sub-critical core around a 14-MeV
                                 neutron source.
                                    Chemistry of different process systems of the research
                                 reactors at Trombay was monitored and controlled effectively.
                                 In connection with the refurbishing work of Cirus, different
                                 corrosion resistance coatings, paint materials etc. were tested in
                                 laboratory for use in reactor systems. Chemical formulations
                                 were developed and successfully used for decontamination of a
                                 radioactive sump in CIRUS.

                                 Reactor Design and Development
                                    Thrust areas of the activities included the design and
                                 development of Advanced Heavy Water Reactor, providing R &
   Control panel for new         D support for PHWR Programme, development of repair
  Controlled Temperature         technologies, experimental activities to support safety research,
   Irradiation Facility at       vibration diagnostics related research, services and consultancy
          Dhruva                 and reactor physics design and analysis.


Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR)
    The activities for design of major systems of               1 2   3 4 5 6   7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26


AHWR reached concluding stages. Design Basis                A
                                                            B
Report (DBR) of AHWR fuel assembly was made.                C
                                                            D
Analytical studies for D5 type fuel cluster were            E
                                                            F
carried out. Tests were carried out to study                G
                                                            H
                                                                                        SR                 SR


behaviour of modified D3 type fuel cluster under            I
                                                            J                   AR     RR                  RR       AR

vibration testing. The fissile materials requirement        K
                                                            L
for the initial core and equilibrium core of AHWR           M
                                                            N
were evaluated. Preliminary seismic analysis for fuel       O
                                                            P
cluster arrangement in AHWR Critical Facility was           Q
                                                            R
                                                                                AR     RR                  RR       AR



completed.                                                  S
                                                            T                           SR                 SR

    The layout & support drawings of the full-length        U
                                                            V
channel of AHWR to be installed in experimental             W
                                                            X
facilities were finalised.                                  Y
                                                            Z
    Various experimental facilities were under                 Exit Burnup    Avg. Burnup in the zone
installation for carrying out studies related to                  32000 MWD/t     16000 MWD/t
                                                                  25000 MWD/t     12500 MWD/t
AHWR, Mock up experiments for steel ball filling in               18000 MWD/t      9000 MWD/t

end shield model were carried out.
    A philosophy for cold start up of the AHWR was           AHWR core burn up distribution
worked out. A computer code was developed to
predict the flow pattern transition instability of the AHWR.
    Site evaluation considerations were discussed and compilation of site selection report was
initiated.
                            Advanced Heavy Water Reactor Plant Layout


Reactor Engineering Research
    R & D backup activities and analytical services to other nuclear facilities were continued.
Ageing Management activities including analytical and on-site work for coolant channels of
PHWRs were carried out.
    Analytical support to other nuclear facilities was provided.
    Operation of existing experimental test facilities and loops was satisfactorily carried out as and
when necessary for component testing and data generation experiments. Modernisation of
instrumentation of operating facilities was done which will facilitate better Loop control and
maintaining database for all the loops.
    Experimental studies were done to understand the rewetting behaviour of a hot vertical
annular channel, with hot inner tube, for bottom flooding and top flow rewetting conditions.
    The expertise developed in the area of vibration diagnostics was used to develop a vibration
diagnostic system for Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) was developed for health
monitoring of rolling stocks by detection of flats on the wheel profile and defective suspensions.
The detection method was validated through inspection and simulation trials on KRCL route. For
field application a prototype was under assembling.

Advanced Reactor Experimental Facility
   Detailed design and engineering, building lay out was completed for an Advanced Reactor
Experimental Facility, meant for carrying out reactor physics experiment for compact reactor
system for special application. Manufacturing of critical equipment was in progress and
construction work of the building started.
Nuclear Fuels
   BARC continued fabrication of nuclear fuel elements for research reactors at Trombay and
for the development and fabrication of special nuclear reactor core components. Development
work on laser processing of materials and NDT techniques was carried out.
   Sol-gel facility for the preparation of microspheres for the mixed oxide fuel was set up in
walk-in fumehoods at Adavnced Fuel Fabrication Facility (AFFF), Tarapur. Trial runs were
carried to test all the process parameters and equipment. Gel particles processed from a batch
gave good quality UO3 microspheres.
   Work pertaining to installation of sol-gel plant for MOX fuel in special Glove boxes at AFFF,
Tarapur is completed.

Advanced Fuel Fabrication Facility
   A number of glove boxes housing Rotary Press, Batch Sintering Furnace and an oven were
added to the existing MOX glove box train for making PFBR fuel pellets. Work on fabrication of
fuel pins for 37 pin PFBR experimental sub-assembly for irradiation in FBTR was in advanced
stage of completion. MOX fuel pellets containing oxides of natural uranium, U-233 and Pu were
under fabrication using indigenous rotary press for encapsulation.
   Fabrication of MOX fuel for TAPS reactors was continued. A number of MOX fuel
assemblies were discharged from TAPS reactors after undergoing their normal cycles.

AHWR Fuel Development Programme
   Development work for (Th-Pu) MOX and (Th-U233)MOX for AHWR fuel was initiated.
Indigenous equipment for extrusion and spherodisation of ThO 2 powder was developed and trials
were taken with uranium dioxide.

Radiochemistry
    High resolution gamma spectrometry and neutron well coincidence counting techniques were
employed to develop methods for the characterisation / estimation of Pu in the mixed carbide fuel
pellets as well as in fuel pins for the FBTR at IGCAR. A hull monitor based on the measurement
of activity of Cs-137 was set up at Kalpakkam Reprocessing Plant for the measurement of
residual undissolved spent fuel. A pneumatic carrier facility was developed for neutron activation
analysis programme at DHRUVA reactor. The novel Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation
Analysis method was standardised using beam line at DHRUVA to enable analysis of low Z
elements.
    With a view to produce indigenous Certified Reference Materials (CRMs), under the
programme on standards, an Inter-laboratory comparison experiment (involving 12 laboratories
of different units of the DAE) was conducted for determining 23 trace metals in U3O8 .

Radiometallurgy
    Production of (U, Pu) mixed carbide fuel pins for operation of FBTR was continued. These
pins were delivered in special bird-cages to IGCAR. Production of FBTR fuel involved strict
physical and chemical quality control and inventory checks at different stages.
    As part of the Advanced Nitride Fuel Development programme, simulated nitride fuel pellets
were made and delivered to IGCAR for dissolution and reprocessing studies.
    For transportation of nuclear materials between various units of DAE, two different types of
transport packages, one for powder and another for finished fuel pins, were designed and
fabricated as per IAEA guidelines (Safety series 6) and tested as per the procedures stipulated by
IAEA for B(U) type package. These tests have approved the design as well as the fabrication
procedures and cleared the packages for safe transportation of nuclear material by road. Strategic
nuclear material in the form of powders and fuel pins were transported to different units of DAE
using the transport packages.
   The proposed AHWR will utilise ThO 2–U233O2 and ThO 2–PuO 2 fuels with low fissile material
enrichment. Development of flow sheet and fixing of process parameters for the fabrication of
ThO 2-UO2 and ThO 2-PuO 2 fuel pellets by powder pellets route were carried out.
   The facility under “Advanced Fuel Development Program” for development and need based
production of MOX-Gd2O3 pellets was nearing completion. The necessary equipment were
procured and installed and the process flow sheet and parameters were arrived at, after
considerable development work. Pellet homogeneity was found to be good.
    The work on demonstrating the feasibility of various methods to recover as much plutonium
bearing material as possible from the alpha active solid waste to reduce its volumes, progressed
very well. Several volume reduction and “Pu” recovery techniques were established and
demonstrated.




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