ADVANCED TEST REACTOR TESTING EXPERIENCE - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), is one of the world's premier test reactors for providing the capability for studying the effects of intense neutron and gamma radiation on reactor materials and fuels. The physical configuration of the ATR, a 4-leaf clover shape, allows the reactor to be operated at different power levels in the comer 'lobes' to allow for different testing conditions for multiple simultaneous experiments. The combination of high flux (maximum thermal neutron fluxes of 1E15 neutrons per square centimeter per second and maximum fast [E>1.0 MeV] neutron fluxes of 5E14 neutrons per square centimeter per second) and large test volumes (up to 122 cm long and 12.7 cm diameter) provide unique testing opportunities. The current experiments in the ATR are for a variety of test sponsors - US government, foreign governments, private researchers, and commercial companies needing neutron irradiation services. There are three basic types of test configurations in the ATR. The simplest configuration is the sealed static capsule, which places the capsule in direct contact with the primary coolant. The next level of experiment complexity is an instrumented lead experiment, which allows for active control of experiment conditions during the irradiation. The most complex experiment is the pressurized water loop, in which the test sample can be subjected to the exact environment of a pressurized water reactor. For future research, some ATR modifications and enhancements are currently planned. This paper provides more details on some of the ATR capabilities, key design features, experiments, and future plans.
- R. V. Furstenau, S. B. Grover, 'The Advanced Test Reactor Irradiation Facilities and Capabilities,' Proceedings of the Americas Nuclear Energy Symposium 2002, (ANES 2002), October 2002
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