In sodium-cooled fast reactors, the core is not arranged in its most reactive configuration. In this case, when the fuel melts to form a molten pool, the recriticality may occur by positive reactivity insertion due to core compaction. To prevent such recriticality, special devices of the fuel subassembly structure for discharging the molten fuel from the core region, have been investigated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). On the other hand, the inherent feature of core geometry and the neutron characteristics may provide the similar effect to prevent such recriticality. The purpose of this study is to design the core specification its deformation in CDA causes negative feedback to subcritical condition, without any fuel discharge device.
The convex shaped core has the longer fuel length in the inner-core region and the shorter fuel in the outer-core region. Therefore, the core geometry as intact status has a lower neutron leakage effect. When the fuel melts in CDA, the core height is compacted and negative reactivity insertion is expected during molten pool formation. The convex shaped core is based on the large-scale cylindrical homogeneous core (3,600 MWth, 4.95m in core diameter, and 0.75m in core height). The calculation showed that the compaction of cylindrical core leads to a reactivity gain, whereas the convex shaped core results in negative reactivity effect.
In this geometry, both inner-core and outer-core are divided into two regions. Furthermore, we introduced the smaller diameter pin for inner-core and keep uniform Pu enrichment for all regions. The smaller diameter pins in high importance region are effective for flat-distribution. Through pin diameter survey, we confirmed the advantages of smaller diameter pin, such as reducing pressure loss of core coolant and decreasing the height of molten pool.