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VVER fuel

  1. Dec 30, 2014 #1
    I was surprised to learn recently that VVER fuel assemblies are in some respects more advanced than typical Western PWR fuel: namely, fuel rods are arranged in a hexagonal pattern in the fuel bundle:

    https://www.google.cz/search?q=vver fuel&tbm=isch

    This is the most dense and uniform packing. In the West, I only heard about _plans_ to use such bundles (I read about it in Japanese docs about they Reduced moderation water reactor projects).
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2014 #2
  4. Dec 30, 2014 #3
    Russian nuclear engineering is very advanced. They are still relatively well funded for R&D of new nuclear technologies. They also seem far more willing to take economic risks than most other countries (or corporations) and still view nuclear technology as a point of pride for a country. Plus they can leverage some of the investment in cold-war era nuclear tech/equipment. They are the only country in the world still trying to build fast reactors (everyone else gave up for now).
  5. Dec 30, 2014 #4

    Doug Huffman

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    LOL I'm twenty years retired and my little reactors had skewed hex units, twisted like a bundle of pencils.
  6. Dec 30, 2014 #5
    Research reactors? I have no doubts all kinds of different things (fuels, geometries, coolants...) were tried in those.
    Bringing new stuff to big power reactors is vastly more difficult.
  7. Dec 30, 2014 #6
    The (ex-)Soviet safety record is the worst of all nuclear powers, though. I am far from sure that even today their, say, reprocessing facilities, are safe enough. They have a horrible track record in disposing of nuclear waste, one which would make Hanford look like a green meadow.
  8. Dec 30, 2014 #7

    Doug Huffman

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    ~100 MWth
  9. Dec 30, 2014 #8
    Hmm. Elaborate :)
  10. Jan 1, 2015 #9


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    The US and European commercial nuclear industry settled on square lattice designs long ago. However, Westinghouse has since developed a hexagonal (triangular) lattice design, VVantage6. I think the western suppliers determined that square lattices were simpler to model and manufacture.

    The Shippingport reactor had hexagonal (and skewed-hexagonal) fuel lattices.

    Some history - http://www.portal.state.pa.us/porta...4569/_atoms_for_peace__in_pennsylvania/471309

    Some technical documents
    http://www.inl.gov/technicalpublications/Documents/2664750.pdf [Broken]

    Fast reactor fuel had hexagonal geometry, and was ducted.

    This is typical LWR UO2/MOX fuel behavior/performance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  11. Jun 21, 2016 #10
    Zaporizhzhya NPP Unit 5 is going to be loaded with Westinghouse fuel:

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/UF-Westinghouse-fuel-assemblies-arrive-at-Zaporozhe-plant-24021601.html[/PLAIN] [Broken]

    It's the third unit in Ukraine to start shifting to Westinghouse fuel. (They don't replace all fuel at once, so reactors will operate on a "mixed" load for a few years. This does create some difficulties, since different fuel bundles have somewhat different hydraulics).

    According to Russian/Ukrainian technical forums I monitor, Westinghouse fuel performs no worse than Russian one, maybe even a tad better.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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