Nuclear Science and Techniques

《核技术》(英文版) ISSN 1001-8042 CN 31-1559/TL     2019 Impact factor 1.556

Nuclear Science and Techniques ›› 2019, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (10): 147 doi: 10.1007/s41365-019-0680-5

• NUCLEAR ENERGY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Feasibility analysis of 60Co production in the pressurized water reactors

Wei Zhang, Feng-lei Niu, Ying Wu, Zhang-Peng Guo   

  1. Beijing Key Laboratory of Passive Safety Technology for Nuclear Energy, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China
  • Received:2019-02-11 Revised:2019-04-18 Accepted:2019-04-26
  • Contact: Feng-Lei Niu
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 11635005 and 11705058) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2018ZD10).
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Wei Zhang, Feng-lei Niu, Ying Wu, Zhang-Peng Guo. Feasibility analysis of 60Co production in the pressurized water reactors.Nuclear Science and Techniques, 2019, 30(10): 147     doi: 10.1007/s41365-019-0680-5

Abstract: The radioactive isotope 60Co is used in many applications, and is typically produced in heavy water reactors. As most of the commercial reactors in operation are pressurized light water reactors (PWRs), the world supply of high level radioactive cobalt would be greatly increased if 60Co could be produced in them. Currently, 60Co production in PWRs has not been extensively studied; for the 59Co (n, γ) 60Co reaction, the positioning of 59Co rods in the reactor determines the rate of production. This article primarily uses the models of 60Co production in Canadian CANDU power reactors and American boiling water reactors; based on relevant data from the pressurized water Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, a PWR core model is constructed with the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) Transport Code; this model suggests changes to existing fuel assemblies to enhance 60Co production. In addition, the plug rods are replaced with 59Co rods in the improved fuel assemblies in the simulation model to calculate critical parameters including the effective multiplication factor, neutron flux density, and distribution of energy deposition. By considering different numbers of 59Co rods, the simulation indicates that different layout schemes have different impact levels, but the impact is not large. As a whole, the components with four 59Co rods have a small impact, and the parameters of the reactor remain almost unchanged when four 59Co rods replace the secondary neutron source. Therefore, in theory, the use of a PWR to produce 60Co is feasible.

Key words: MCNP, Fuel assembly, Neutron flux, Reactor power, 60Co