The National Bureau of Standards reactor (NBSR) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is under conversion from high enriched uranium (HEU) to the low enriched uranium (LEU) schema under the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors program (RERTR) as a part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). The conversion of the high performance research reactors (HPRR) such as NBSR is a challenging task due to the high flux need (2.5 × 1014 n/cm2-s for the NBSR), as well as other neutronics performance characteristics requirements without significant changes to the external geometrical configuration. One fuel candidate, the General Atomics (GA) UZrH LEU fuel, has showed particular promise in this regard. The TRIGA LEU fuel was initially developed in the 1980s with particular considerations for fuel conversion for high power regimes such as high density research and test reactors. This study performs a neutronics feasibility study of the UZrH LEU fuel schema for the NBSR, examining the accountability and sustainability of the TRIGA fuel when applying it to the NBSR conversion. To identify the best option to deploy the TRIGA fuel to NBSR in terms of key neutronic performance characteristic, the study is carried out with various considerations in the fuel dimensions, fuel rod layout configurations, and structure material selections. Monte Carlo based computational model is used to assist and facilitate the research procedure. The research findings in this study will determine the viability of the TRIGA fuel type for the NBSR conversion, and provide supporting data for future investigations on this subject.

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