Fuel Cycle of Nuclear Facilities

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Code Completion Credits Range Language
17PCJZ ZK 2 2P Czech
Garant předmětu:
Ľubomír Sklenka
Evžen Losa, Ľubomír Sklenka, Radovan Starý
Department of Nuclear Reactors

Subject is focused at the basic description of the front and middle part of the nuclear power plants’ fuel cycle. After introductory information, nuclear fuel cycle definition and different types of fuel cycles’ classification, the lectures are describing the uranium mining, mechanical and chemical ore processing into the form of the yellow cake. Following this, ways of purification, chemical conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication are briefly described. The description of the middle part of fuel cycle begins with introduction into the reactor physics: neutron interactions, fission, breeding factor, etc. In the following part of lectures, aspects of the nuclear fuel burn-up are described as well as the reactor operation during the fuel campaign and fuel handling (fresh and burnt). The subject also deals with MOX nuclear fuel utilization in nuclear reactors and potential utilization of the thorium in reactors with Th-U fuel cycle.

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Nuclear fuel cycle, uranium mining (1 lecture): description of the basic parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, front, middle, and end fuel cycle part, world uranium and thorium stockpiles, ways of uranium mining in the world and in the Czech Republic, thorium mining in the world, impact of the uranium mining to the environment.

2. Processing of the uranium ore, uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel fabrication (2 lectures): mechanical ore processing, leaching, uranium separation from infusion, production of the yellow cake and its composition, definition of the material nuclear purity, yellow cake purification, UF6 production, uranium enrichment, UF6 conversion to UO2, fuel pellet production, fuel pin production and their assembly into fuel assemblies.

3. Neutron interactions and uranium fission (2 lectures): basic neutron interactions with matter – absorption, scattering, and fission, microscopic and macroscopic cross section and its dependence on neutron energy for different interactions and different isotopes, neutron flux density and neutron current, fissile and fissionable materials, heavy

nuclei fission, fission yields and energy balance at fission.

4. Fission chain reaction in nuclear reactor (3 lectures): fast and thermal neutrons, neutron moderation, life cycle of the neutron from its origination to its termination, multiplication factor, reactivity, neutron balance in nuclear reactor, infinite and finite reactor system, prompt and delayed neutrons, neutron spectrum in the nuclear reactor.

5. Uranium fuel in the nuclear reactor (2 lectures): fresh fuel and its composition, fuel burn-up, isotopic composition of burning fuel during campaign, fission products, absorbers in reactor and their influence on the reactor operation, handling with the fresh fuel in nuclear power plant, handling with spent nuclear fuel in power plant.

6. Thorium and MOX nuclear fuel, nuclear fuels in the future generation reactors (2 lectures): thorium fuel in nuclear reactor, MOX fuel in the nuclear reactor, nuclear fuels in the boiling, graphite, gas cooled and fast reactors, nuclear fuels in the future generation reactors (Gen IV, Small modular reactors).

Syllabus of tutorials:
Study Objective:
Study materials:

Key References:

1. D. G. Cacuci: Handbook of Nuclear Engineering, Springer Science+Business Media, 2010 ISBN 978-0-387-98130-7

2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta: Introduction to Nuclear Engineering. London: Pearson, 2017 ISBN 978-0134570051

3. K. D. Kok: Nuclear Engineering Handbook, 2nd Ed., CRC Press, 2016 ISBN 9781482215922

Recommended References:

4. IAEA: Core Management and Fuel Handling for Nuclear Power Plants, IAEA Safety Guide, NS-G-2.5, IAEA, Vienna, 2002

5. R. G. Cochran, N. Tsoulfanidis: Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Analysis and Management, American Nuclear Society, 1999, ISBN 9780894484513

Time-table for winter semester 2023/2024:
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Time-table for summer semester 2023/2024:
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The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2023-08-30
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