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Reactor Physics Experiments on Zero Power Reactors

  • Gilles Bignan
  • Philippe Fougeras
  • Patrick Blaise
  • Jean-Pascal Hudelot
  • Frédéric Mellier

Abstract

The CEA (Commissariat á l’Energie Atomique) is strongly involved in R&D research programs concerning the use of nuclear energy as a clean and reliable source of energy and consequently is working on the present and future generations of reactors on various topics such as ageing plant management, optimisation of the plutonium stockpile, waste management and innovative systems exploration. Core physics studies are an essential part of this comprehensive R&D effort. In particular, the Zero Power Reactors (ZPR) of CEA: EOLE, MINERVE and MASURCA play an important role in the validation of neutron physics calculation tools (codes and nuclear data). Most recent programs notably contributed to: Obtain a very large and accurate experimental database for nuclides arising in plutonium and waste management (heavy nuclides and long lived fission products). Explore long-lived nuclides transmutation. Support the present French PWR fleet and the future reactors such as EPR. Explore innovative systems and new concepts in terms of new materials and fuels (ABWR, new MTR such as the Jules Horowitz Reactor under construction in Cadarache). Improve the physics of hybrid systems, involving a sub-critical reactor coupled with an external accelerator (ADS). A vast majority of theses programs are carried out within the frame of international collaboration. The Zero Power Reactors are also essential tools in the activities of teaching various topics related to experimental reactor physics. In particular, practical work on the operation and control of reactors and the associated methods of experimentation is done by the students enrolled in the “Génie Atomique” French nuclear engineering school. The experimental programs defined in the EOLE, MINERVE and MASURCA facilities aim at improving the calculation routes by reducing the uncertainties of the experimental databases. They also provide accurate data on innovative systems in terms of new materials (moderating and decoupling materials) and new concepts (ADS, ABWR, GEN IV) involving new fuels, absorbers and coolant materials. After a description of the previous experimental programs, an overview of the future experimentation is given in this chapter.

Keywords

Spectral Index Fission Product Neutron Spectrum Reactivity Effect Irradiate Fuel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilles Bignan
    • 1
  • Philippe Fougeras
    • 1
  • Patrick Blaise
    • 1
  • Jean-Pascal Hudelot
    • 1
  • Frédéric Mellier
    • 1
  1. 1.French Atomic Energy Commission, Reactor Studies DepartmentCadarache Research CenterSaint Paul Lez DuranceFrance

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