Heat pipe-segmented thermoelectric module converters space reactor power system (HP-SMTCs SRPS) is a promising candidate for space nuclear power system. An examination was taken to discuss the criticality safety of HP-SMTCs reactor core in several accident conditions. In the original nuclear design, the case that reactor core is submerged in wet sand while the voids inside the core are filled with sea water and the BeO reflector are dismantled is defined as the worst status with the highest risk of supercritical. However, recent Monte Carlo transport calculation result shows that reactivity in the case that the core is submerged in water while the voids inside are empty is even higher than those cases with the voids full of sea water, which means that the reactor may encounter high risk of supercritical when some particular accidents occur. Detailed analysis about the neutron energy spectrum and absorption reaction rate is made in order to find out the potential reason of these unexpected results. According to the discussion about the criticality safety issues in some accidents, further evaluations may be necessary for the neutronics design of HP-SMTCs space reactors.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Criticality Safety Issues in Nuclear Design of HP-SMTCs Space Reactor
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Li, S, Wang, D, Jiang, Y, Li, W, & Guo, W. "Criticality Safety Issues in Nuclear Design of HP-SMTCs Space Reactor." Proceedings of the 2018 26th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Volume 3: Nuclear Fuel and Material, Reactor Physics, and Transport Theory. London, England. July 22–26, 2018. V003T02A047. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE26-82244
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