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Reactivity Control Schemes For Fast Spectrum Space Nuclear Reactors, Aaron E. Craft, Jeffrey C. King Jan 2008

Reactivity Control Schemes For Fast Spectrum Space Nuclear Reactors, Aaron E. Craft, Jeffrey C. King

Mining and Nuclear Engineering Faculty Research & Creative Works

Several different reactivity control schemes are considered for future space nuclear reactor power systems. Each of these control schemes uses a combination of boron carbide absorbers and/or beryllium oxide reflectors to achieve sufficient reactivity swing to keep the reactor subcritical during launch and to provide sufficient excess reactivity to operate the reactor over its expected 7-15 year lifetime. The size and shape of the control system directly impacts the size and mass of the space reactor's reflector and shadow shield, leading to a tradeoff between reactivity swing and total system mass. This paper presents a trade study of ...