In conventional pressurized water reactor (PWR) designs, the concentration of boron in primary coolant is limited by the requirement of having a negative moderator density coefficient. As high boron concentrations have significant impact on reactivity feedback properties, design changes to reduce boron concentration in the reactor coolant are of general interest in view of improving PWR inherent safety. In the framework of an investigation into the feasibility of low boron design, a PWR core configuration based on fuel with higher gadolinium (Gd) content has been developed which permits to reduce the natural boron concentration at begin of cycle (BOC) by approx. 50% compared to current German PWR technology. For the assessment of the potential safety advantages, a Loss-of-Feedwater Anticipated Transient Without Scram (ATWS LOFW) has been simulated with the system code ATHLET for two PWR core designs: a low boron design and a standard core design. The most significant difference in the transient performance of both designs is the total primary fluid mass released through the pressurizer (PRZ) valves. It is reduced by a factor of four for the low boron reactor, indicating its improved density reactivity feedback.

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