Recommendations for Addressing Axial Burnup in PWR Burnup Credit Analyses (NUREG/CR-6801)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2002
Date Published: March 2003

Prepared by:
J.C. Wagner, M. D. DeHart, C.V. Parks

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Managed by UT-Battelle, LLC
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6370

R.Y. Lee, NRC Project Manager

NRC Job Code W6479

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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This report presents studies performed to support the development of a technically justifiable approach for addressing the axial-burnup distribution in pressurized-water reactor (PWR) burnup-credit criticality safety analyses. The effect of the axial-burnup distribution on reactivity and proposed approaches for addressing the axial-burnup distribution are briefly reviewed. A publicly available database of profiles is examined in detail to identify profiles that maximize the neutron multiplication factor, keff, assess its adequacy for PWR burnup credit analyses, and investigate the existence of trends with fuel type and/or reactor operations. A statistical evaluation of the keff values associated with the profiles in the axial burnup-profile database was performed, and the most reactive (bounding) profiles were identified as statistical outliers. The impact of these bounding profiles on keff is quantified for a high-density burnup credit cask. Analyses are also presented to quantify the potential reactivity consequence of loading assemblies with axial-burnup profiles that are not bounded by the database. The report concludes with a discussion on the issues for consideration and recommendations for addressing axial burnup in criticality safety analyses using burnup credit for dry cask storage and transportation.

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