Detailed study of the transient rod pneumatic system on the annular core research reactor

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Fehr, Brandon M.
Rahnema, Farzad
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Throughout the history of the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR), Transient Rod (TR) A has experienced an increased rate of failure versus the other two TRs (B and C). Either by pneumatic force or electric motor, the transient rods remove the poison rods from the ACRR core allowing for the irradiation of experiments. In order to develop causes for why TR A is failing (rod break) more often, a better understanding of the whole TR system and its components is needed. This study aims to provide a foundational understanding of how the TR pneumatic system affects the motion of the TRs and the resulting effects that the TR motion has on the neutronics of the ACRR. Transient rod motion profiles have been generated using both experimentally-obtained pressure data and by thermodynamic theory, and input into Razorback, a SNL-developed point kinetics and thermal hydraulics code, to determine the effects that TR timing and pneumatic pressure have on reactivity addition and reactivity feedback. From this study, accurate and precise TR motion profiles have been developed, along with an increased understanding of the pulse timing sequence. With this information, a safety limit within the ACRR was verified for different TR travel lengths and pneumatic system pressures. In addition, longer reactivity addition times have been correlated to cause larger amounts of reactivity feedback. The added clarity on TR motion and timing from this study will pave the way for further study to determine the cause for the increased failure rate of TR A.
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