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Патент USA US3093584

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June 11, 1963
E. L. CURRIER, JR, ETAL
3,093,566
NUCLEAR REACTOR FUEL ELEMENT
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
Filed Nov. '7, 1958
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INVENTORS.
EDWIN L. CURR/ER,JR
JOHN H N/CKLAS
hi‘m”,
BY
ATTORNEY
June 11, 1963
E. L. CURRIER, JR., ETAL
3,093,566
NUCLEAR REACTOR FUEL ELEMENT
Filed Nov. ‘7, 1958
FUEL
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
SEC/T ON
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INVENTORS.
EDWIN L. CURE/ER, JR
JOHN H N/CKLAS
BY
W
A TTORNE Y
United States
3,093,556
atent
Patented June 11, 1963
2
1
FIG. 8 is a sectional view of a fuel element utilizing
3,093,566
NUCLEAR REACTOR FUEL ELEMENT
Edwin L. Currier, In, Silver Spring, and John H. Nicklas,
Riverdale, Md, assignors, by mesne assignments, to the
United States of America as represented by the United
States Atomic Energy Commission
Filed Nov. 7, 1958, Ser. No. 772,575
5 Claims. (Cl. 204-1932)
the fuel plates of the present invention.
Referring now to FIGURE 1, there is shown a side
view of one of the ?ssionable material containing plates
in accordance with the present invention, which may be
utilized in the control rod disclosed in the above referenced
publication and shown schematically in FIGURE 8 here—
of. Speci?cally, the plate 10 is a fuel alloy, which may
contain uanium enriched with U235, e.g., preferably 20%
The present invention is directed to nuclear reactor 10 enrichment or more.
Other ?ssionable materials are
fuel element sections and, particularly, to fuel plates with
U233 and Pu239. This uranium, in the preferred embodi
variations in ?ssionable material content.
ment, is alloyed with aluminum to form an alloy with a
(In high flux nuclear reactors utilized for testing such
as the MTR, it is common practice to incorporate into
particular uranium content, for example, between 5 w/o
and 50 w/o. *The uranium content of" the alloy is not
the control rods a ?ssionable material containing fuel 15 critical in the present invention and will depend upon
the reactor core con?guration. Other materials may also
section. This practice has the purpose of increasing the
be included in the alloy to enhance workability or to
control rod worth, in that, since the poison section and
provide other desirable properties, as is well known in
the fuel containing section of the control rod are attached
the art. Surrounding the fuel plate 10 is a cladding or
lengthwise, when the control poison is inserted into the
container 11, generally fabricated from aluminum or
core region, the fuel containing section attached to it is
aluminum alloy, which is preferably metallurgically
removed from the core. Likewise, as the control poison
bonded to the fuel alloy core of 10. Such a cladding is,
is withdrawn from the core of the reactor the fuel con
generally, 0.015 to 0.020 inch thick on the ?at surfaces
taining section will be inserted. In this manner a dou
and about 5%;2 inch thick on the edges.
ble gain in reactivity is produced. Such a combination
The main body of the fuel plate 10 has, in the pre
control rod fuel containing assembly is shown and de
ferred embodiment shown in FIGURE 1, a plurality of
scribed in “Research Reactors,” USAEC (McGraw Hill
?ngers 12 ion at least one end, i.e., the end of the plate
Co., 1955), in Fig. 3—13, and, particularly, pages 168,
10 which will, after assembly, be adjacent to the poison
170 and 172, the disclosure of which is incorporated
of the control rod. These ?ngers are fabricated so that,
herein by reference.
One of the fundamental disadvantages of the arrange 30 preferably, about one-half of the uranium is removed
from each plate for a distance of from one to about four
ment shown in the referenced publication is that the neu
inches from the end. Although the ?ngers shown have
tron ?ux will tend to go to excessively high values at the
parallel sides, it is within the purview of this invention to
ends of the control rod fuel containing sections at the
utilize tapered, pointed or rounded ?ngers to accomplish
point nearest the poisoning material, if there is too much
moderator between the end of the fuel and the start of 35 the purposes set forth above.
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view of FIGURE 1 showing
the poison material. Such conditions exist upon the in
the ?ngers 12 spaced within the cladding material 11.
sertion or withdrawal of the rod.
It should be noted that the ?ngers 12 of ?ssionable ma
It is the general object of the present invention to
obviate this disadvantage, thereby preventing flux peaking
in the end portion of the fuel containing section. '
‘It is another object of the present invention to provide
a product to prevent such ?ux peaking while maintain
ing the fuel plates of the fuel containing section of the
control rod of equal length and width, so that similar
terial are, preferably, of equal length and cross-sectional
40 area to facilitate fabrication.
However, variations in
length or area may be made without adversely affecting
the fundamental object of preventing ?ux peaking at
the end of the fuel containing section.
FIGURE 3 is a cross section of the main body of the
fuel containing plates can be utilized in all control rods. 45 fuel plate 10 showing the orientation of the plate 10 with
respect to the cladding 11 after the bonding or encasing
It is' a still further object of the present invention to
procedure, as described hereinafter.
provide a reduced ?ssionable material content at, at least,
In fabricating the preferred fuel plate, as shown in
one of the ends of the fuel containing section to prevent
FIGURE 1, the ?ssionable material containing body 10
dangerous flux peaking.
It is another object of the present invention to provide 50 is ?rst fabricated by the usual methods into a rectangu
lar shape. The ?ngers 12 are fabricated from such a
a simple, inexpensive and reliable means for preventing
body by removing the volume between the ?ngers 12 by
?ux peaking in the ?ssionable material located adjacent to
any skill of the art technique. Blanks 13 of aluminum,
the poison portion of a control rod.
or of an aluminum alloy, are then placed between the
The invention embodies other novel features, details
55 ?ngers. These blanks 13 may, if desirable for a particular
of construction and arrangement of parts which are here
reactor, contain very small amounts of poisoning ma
inafter set forth in the speci?cation and claims and illus
terial to further enhance the transitional characteristics
trated in the accompanying drawings which are hereby
of the assembly from a poison to a fuel as the rod is re
made a part of the speci?cation, wherein:
moved or inserted or, if desirable, containing thermal
‘FIG. 1 is a side view of one of the fuel plates utilized 60 neutron non-?ssionable material such as U238 or Th2”.
in the fuel containing section.
The actual assembly of the fuel plate 10 including the
FIG. 2 is a sectional view along line 2-—2 of FIG
?ngers 12, blanks 13, with the cladding 11, could be ac
URE 1.
complished in a number of ways, such as, common roll
FIG. 3 is a sectional view along line 3—3 of ‘FIG
bonding of the plate 10, pressed in aluminum picture
URE 1.
65 frame with cover plates rolled on, or of welding the cover
FIG. 4 is a side view of a second embodiment of the
sheets along the edges. Methods of cladding or encasing
?ssionable material are well known in the art and are,
present invention.
therefore, not here described in detail. See, for example,
FIG. 5 is an end view of FIGURE 4 in partial section.
ANL-56‘07, USAEC, “The Experimental Boiling Water
‘FIGURE 6 is a sectional view along line 6-6 of FIG
70 Reactor,” pages 184-201; US. Patents 2,848,796; 2,848,
URE 4.
797; 2,813,073 and 2,820,751, the disclosures of which
FIG. 7 is a side view of a third embodiment of the pres
are incorporated herein by reference.
ent invention.
3,093,566
e
M
Other variations of the present invention are apparent
from FIGURE 4, in which a body 15 of ?ssionable mate
rial con-taining substances of standard or desired thick
ness has, at least, one end portion 16 which has a reduced
thickness and, therefore, a lesser content of ?ssionable
material per unit surface area. In the preferred form of
this embodiment, the portion 16 has parallel sides in
order to facilitate fabrication. However, tapered sides
raining section is obtained and ?ux peaking, at this point,
is virtually eliminated.
Having described a preferred embodiment of the pres
ent invention, it is to be understood that although speci?c
terms and examples are employed, they are used in a
generic and descriptive sense and not for purposes of
limitation; the scope of the invention being set forth in the
following claims.
may also be utilized.
What is claimed is:
In this embodiment, see FIGURE 5, blanks 17 are also 10
1. A nuclear reactor fuel element containing control
required to facilitate the fabrication. The method of as
rod having a neutron poison material and at least one
sembling and of obtaining the required bonds is the same
fuel plate, said plate having a first section containing a
as described, with respect to the ?rst embodiment. Upon
?rst volume of ?ssionable material and a second slotted
‘bonding, the blanks will essentially lose their separate
section containing a second volume of ?ssionable mate
identity with respect to the cladding material 18 and,
rial, from about one-third to about three-quarters of said
therefore, in FIGURE 6 the blanks 17 are shown as
?rst volume per unit length of fuel plate, said second sec
_ tion being adjacent to the neutron poison material of said
control rod.
2. A nuclear reactor fuel containing control rod having
a fuel containing section and a poison containing section,
said fuel containing section being slotted at the end there
of adjacent to said poison containing section to reduce the
bounded by dotted lines.
The blanks 17 are, preferably, fabricated of the same
material as the cladding. However, it is within the pur
view of this invention to include in these blanks, as Well
as the blanks utilized in FIGURE 1, a low concentration
of neutron absorbing material to improve the transitional
characteristics during withdrawal or insertion. In this
?ssionable material content at said end from about one
respect, such blanks, i.e., having a neutron absorber, would
third to about three-quarters of the unslotted portion per
only be utilized at the end of the fuel containing section 25 unit volume of the plate.
which is adjacent to the control rod poison containing
3. A nuclear reactor fuel containing control rod hav
section. However, it should be noted that both ends of
ing a poison containing section and a fuel containing sec—
.the fuel containing plates may have reduced ?ssionalble
tion, said fuel containing section having a plurality of
material volume to eliminate any chance of misassembly
?ssionable material containing plates, each of said plates
so that the wrong end of the plates would be adjacent the
being slotted at the end adjacent said poison section so
poison containing sections.
that said end contains from about one-third to about three
It is also apparent to those skilled in the art, from
quarters of the ?ssionable material content of the unslotted
FIGURES 4 and 5, that the portion 16 may be fabricated
remainder per unit volume of said plate.
to form a transversely bifurcated end so that an insert or
4. In a nuclear reactor control rod comprised of a
blank would be contained between the two branches. It
is also apparent that combinations of the embodiments
of FIGURES 1 and 4 could be utilized and that tapered,
lengthwise section containing neutron poison material and
rather than parallel, edges on the ?ngers and end portions
could be utilized. However, the embodiments shown in
FIGURES l and 4 have the advantage of simpli?ed
and less costly fabrication, with a high degree of repro
ducibility of results between fuel containng plates.
FIGURE 7 is a side View of a third embodiment of
a lengthwise section containing ?ssionable fuel material
adjacent to but spaced from the poison section, the im
provement wherein the fuel material is in plate form and
each plate is slotted at the end adjacent the poison ma
terial so that the slotted end contains from about one
third to about three-quarters as much ?ssionable material
per unit length as the unslotted part of the fuel plate.
5. The control rod as claimed in claim 4 wherein the
the present invention in which the ?ssionable element
slotted end of the fuel plate has a plurality of lengthwise
containing material 25 has holes 26 which have been 45 slots and contains about one-half as much ?ssionable ma
?lled with a material 27 which may be the same as the
terial as the unslotted portion per unit length, the fuel
cladding or encasing material 28. If the rollsbonding
plate is cladded in aluminum, and said slots are ?lled with
technique is utilized in fabricating this embodiment the
aluminum.
'
?lled holes will not be circular but will be ellipses, the
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
elongation resulting from the rolling process.
50
UNITED STATES PATENTS
FIGURE 8 shows an example of the fuel element con
taining control rod in which the fuel plates of the pres
2,831,806
Wigner ______________ __ Apr. 22, 1958
ent invention may be utilized. It is, however, within
2,843,539
Burnstein ____________ __ July 15, 1958
the purview of the present invention to utilize such plates
2,852,456
Wade _______________ __ Sept. 16, 1958
in other types of fuel elements. Speci?cally, the shim 55 2,870,076
Koch ________________ __ Jan. 20, 1959
safety rod with fuel shown in FIGURE 8 is of a- standard
type, except for the fuel plates. Therefore, no detailed
description of the rod is included herein. In the fuel sec
tion the plates 10 are shown as having a ?rst section 10a
with a standard volume of ?ssionable material per unit 60
volume and ?ngers 12 constituting, in this embodiment, a
2,996,443
Schaner ______________ __ Aug. 15, 1961
OTHER REFERENCES
AEC document AECD-3715, Feb‘. 1, 1954, p. 11.
Research Reactors, TID-5275, 1955, pp. 168-171.
GER-1301, A Design Description of the Dresden Nu
clear Power Station, November 1956, pp. 12-14.
APAE-S, Army Package Power Reactor Zero Power
Experiments (ZPE-l), February 1957, pp. 107 and 113
second section with a volume of ?ssionable material per
unit volume which is less than that of the ?rst section 10a.
The lower end of the fuel section is shown as having the
standard volume, although this may be modi?ed as pointed 65 116'.
out hereinbefore.
‘
In all of the embodiments of the present invention, it
WAPD-MRP-68, PWR Report, August 1957, p. 79.
CRL-47, November 1957, in particular the abstract be
fore p. 1.
is desirable to have from about one-third to about three
quarters as much ?ssionable material in the end portion
TID—7559 (Part 1), Fuel Elements Conference, May
as in the center portion on‘ the basis of a unit volume of 70 1958, pp. 53-69 and 133-135.
the assembled plate. Obviously, the exact reduction de
sired will depend upon the particular reactor. Thus, for
1958, PP. 41-63.
example, in reactors of the MTR type, a one-half reduc
tion is preferred. In this manner, a smoother neutron
Paper A/Conf. 15/p/ 191, by O. I. C. Runnalls, Sept.
9, 1958 (for presentation at Second Geneva Conference
?ux density distribution about the end of the fuel con
APAE-32 Reactor Analysis APPR-l Core II, July
of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy).
_
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