The radial power distribution is uneven in the Pressure Tube type SCWR bundle because of the higher fuel enrichment and the separation of light water coolant and heavy water moderator. The uneven profile will usually result in high cladding temperature. In order to optimize bundle design, the analysis of coupled neutronics/thermal-hydraulics was carried out.
The neutronics code WIMS-AECL and the subchannel code ATHAS are selected to conduct the coupled neutronics/thermal-hydraulics analysis for the PT-SCWR 54-elements bundle design. The analysis of the reference case showed that the maximum cladding surface temperature of the bundles at both Beginning of the Cycle (BOC) and End of the Cycle (EOC) exceed the design limits. The optimization was carried out through (1) adopting staggered radial uranium enrichment profile and (2) optimizing the pitch-circle diameters of element rings.
The results showed that the optimized bundle can achieve lower maximum cladding surface temperature, which is well below the limiting criteria, and meet the criteria of neutronics demands.