There are many types of burnable absorbers currently used in power reactors. They are used to provide reactivity and power peaking control. Westinghouse reactors most commonly use Zirconium Diboride Integral Fuel Burnable Absorbers (ZrB2) while Combustion Engineering reactors most commonly use Erbia Integral Fuel Burnable Absorbers (Erbia) in Combustion Engineering reactors. This paper documents the study to determine the effect of placing Erbia and ZrB2 within a Westinghouse 17×17 fuel assembly, and the effect of these ZrB2/Erbia assemblies on the physics characteristics of a representative Westinghouse 4-loop, 24 month cycle length design. The study consisted first of producing optimal within-assembly burnable absorber configurations where ∼25% of the ZrB2-bearing fuel rods within an assembly were replaced with Erbia-bearing fuel rods. This ratio was selected in order to provide an effective balance between potential peaking factor improvements and the known Erbia disadvantage of increased residual absorber penalty compared with ZrB2. The optimal patterns were selected as the ones that most reduced the assembly-wise cumulative peak-to-average rod power during the depletion compared with existing all-ZrB2 BA configurations with the same BA rod quantity loading. The second part of this study consisted of substituting various quantities of these ZrB2/Erbia feed fuel assemblies in a representative Westinghouse 4-loop, 24 month cycle core design to study the effect on power peaking factors, moderator temperature coefficient (MTC), and cycle length.

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